Authored by Dr. Melissa Alfonso Sedeño
Does my child need braces? Do I need braces? Could my smile be improved with Invisalign? These are some of the questions you might ask yourself. A straight and properly aligned smile and bite can offer a number of benefits to patients with many different conditions.
To understand who might benefit from treatment, it’s important to understand what an ideal bite is.
A fully functional bite consists of the top teeth outside of the bottom teeth with the top front teeth overlapping the lower front teeth slightly. The front teeth should be touching and the back teeth should fit together like a puzzle, or like a zipper, leaving no spaces between the top and bottom teeth.
Crossbites are when the top teeth are situated on the inside of the bottom teeth. This can cause a bite to shift off to one side, causing asymmetric growth of the lower jaw in kids, and is often the result of a narrow upper jaw. Crossbites in kids are often treated easily using an expander. Once a patient is a teenager or an adult, crossbites can be more challenging to fix, although not impossible. Crossbites of front teeth can cause loss of gum tissue, called recession. Often in children with this condition, a simple correction of the crossbite can result in the improvement of the gum tissue.
Open bites are when the front teeth are not touching. This can be the result of abnormal growth or from habits such as thumb sucking or prolonged pacifier use. These patients often report that they can’t bite into a sandwich or a piece of pizza. Orthodontic treatment might include an appliance to address potential habits and the use of rubber bands to help close the bite. For adults with minor crossbites, Invisalign can be a great treatment option.
Protruding upper teeth, or overbite, is another commonly treated condition with braces or Invisalign. This can be a result of a discrepancy in jaw growth or just a discrepancy in the bite. Depending on the severity it can be treated with growth appliances or with rubber bands in combination with braces. In younger children, it can cause problems if the child falls frequently and happens to “bump” a tooth when falling. Severe cases in adults may also require surgery to correct it in addition to the orthodontic treatment. Rubber bands and appliances can also be used with Invisalign to correct an overbite.
Underbites occur when the bottom jaw grows more than the top jaw. In children, this can be easily treated with a growth appliance. In an adult, it can be treated in a number of ways from rubber bands with braces to surgical correction of the jaws. At Specialty Smiles the doctors are also trained in the MEAW technique, a special technique to help correct underbites with braces without surgery.
Orthodontic Treatment Options
Invisalign and braces are most commonly used to address space discrepancies such as crowding and spacing. Crowding can make it challenging to clean teeth when they are rotated and not lined up properly. In cases with a lot of crowding removal of teeth may also be necessary. Spacing can cause trauma to the gums and bone around the teeth and can result in food trapping.
Finding out how braces or Invisalign can improve your smile has never been easier. At Specialty Smiles we offer free consultations in our office as well as virtual consultations. Our practice proudly accepts all insurance plans, and we also offer interest-free financing on a variety of treatment options. We love getting to know new patients and helping you learn how you can Love Your Smile!