Bite Problems

Facial contours, the size of the jaw, and tooth size are all hereditary ( or, in rare cases, disease-related).  the orthodontist may talk to you about the relationship between jaw and tooth size.  For example, if a child inherits her mom’s small jaw and her father’s large teeth, the end result may be teeth that are too big for the jaw.

This overcrowding is a serious problem. It can prevent some teeth from erupting and cause the crowding or partial impaction of others. ( An impacted tooth is one that does not erupt normally but is completely or partially buried in the jawbone or partially covered by gum tissue.) It also results in an abnormal bite, called malocclusion by the dental profession.  Teeth should be like well adjusted gears; they should join in harmony to distribute the forces of chewing evenly over all of the teeth. When they’re overcrowded and misaligned, they’re like gears that have jammed up and don’t function well, if at all.  Malocclusion can  result in many problems:

  • Excessive trauma to and stress on the teeth, ligaments, jaw joints and muscles, and the jawbone
  • Speech difficulties
  • Hard to clean teeth
  • Inefficient chewing and digestion
  • Acceleration of gum disease, bone loss, TMJ problems, and ultimately the premature loss of teeth