Orthodontics is the treatment and prevention of teeth and bite irregularities. Dentofacial orthopedics is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and abnormalities of the head, neck, jaw, and general musculoskeletal system.
Here at Boulder County Smiles, we have developed a treatment system that integrates both orthopedics and orthodontics. Together, these two fields not only help us to give you the smile of your dreams, but they allow us to make that smile functional, healthy, and properly aligned.
What Kinds of Alignment Problems Can Orthopedic Orthodontics Fix?
There are a number of common tooth arrangements that can be adjusted by our orthopedic dentists. These include:
Overbite| Overbites are some of the most common tooth arrangements. In this situation, the top and bottom teeth are horizontally aligned, but the top teeth drop down too far vertically, causing them to overlap the bottom teeth. Overbite treatment helps to shift those overlapping teeth.
Underbite| An underbite is when the bottom teeth jut out in front of the top teeth. This can be the opposite of either an overbite or an overjet, or both. With orthopedic orthodontics, we can fix underbites.
Crossbite| Crossbites are a combination of under and overbites. They happen when some of the top teeth overlap the bottom, while others rest behind them instead.
Open Bite| In an open bite, the front teeth don’t meet all the way, leaving a distinct gap between the top and bottom teeth, even when the jaws are closed all the way. The solution to open bites is very similar to how an orthopedic dentist can fix underbites and overbites.
Overjet| Overjets are similar to overbites. In them, the top teeth are also in front of the bottom teeth. But rather than this resulting from a vertical misalignment, there is a horizontal space between the top and bottom teeth.
Why Does the Alignment Matter?
In some cases, an overbite or underbite may be very minor. These situations will not dramatically affect everyday life. However, when the misalignments are more dramatic, so too will be the effects.
Bite Difficulty| In cases where the front teeth aren’t able to come together all the way—often with overjets and open bites especially—something as simple as biting can be a major problem. Taking a bite from an apple, for example, or even a sandwich can take extra effort. In the most severe misalignment situations, it may even be completely impossible to bite off pieces of large foods.
Speech| As surprising as it may sound, your teeth have as much influence on your speech patterns as your tongue and vocal cords. When there are gaps, such as those caused by missing teeth or bite misalignment, certain sounds become more difficult to produce.
TMJ Disorders| Alignment problems can put severe stress on your temporomandibular joints (TMJ). You have one TMJ on either side of your face, and they are responsible for all of the movement your jaw makes. If the jaw is not aligned properly, every one of those movements will place extra stress on the TMJs, and this misalignment can result in muscle tension, lockjaw, or chronic migraines.
Tooth Damage| Some arrangements of the jaw or bite can cause the teeth to rub together or collide with each other. This wears out teeth much faster than normal, and can result in worn, cracked, or chipped tooth enamel.
Make Us Your Orthopedic Dentists Today
If you are in need us to fix underbite issues, an overbite, or have any of the above orthodontic issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here in our Lafayette, CO office.