Many people have questions about orthodontics, such as, “what is orthodontics?,” or “what does an orthodontist do?” It’s easy to understand people’s confusion, because most of the time dentists are associated with fixing problems that occur with the teeth. The best way to word an orthodontics definition is that orthodontics is a more specialized kind of dentistry that deals with crooked teeth, which can create an improper bite and other issues in the mouth. An orthodontist is someone who has studied orthodontics and can help to fix crooked teeth problems. Below are five types of crooked teeth issues orthodontics can help with.
Most people have a very slight overbite meaning that their top teeth will overlap their lower teeth a bit. An overbite occurs when the upper jaw is clearly protruding beyond the lower jaw, and sometimes it causes the front teeth to bite into the gums. Sometimes, alignment of the teeth causes the issue, but other times the complete structure of a person’s jaw is off. Overbites can create issues with speech, damage to the teeth, pain in the jaw, and can make eating difficult.
An underbite is sort of like an overbite in reverse. Instead of the top teeth protruding over the bottom teeth, it’s the bottom teeth sticking out over the top. Roughly 10% of people suffer from underbites, and it is a problem that can be treated easiest when caught early on in a person’s life. Underbites can cause jaw pain, uneven wearing of teeth, and tooth decay.
A crossbite occurs when the back teeth on the upper jaw end up biting the inside of the lower teeth. This complex crooked teeth issue can cause gum disease, bone loss, or wearing down of the teeth. Crossbite is considered a rather serious condition that should be treated as soon as possible. It may be handed down by one generation to the next or can be caused by sucking the thumb or other bad oral habits.
Crowding can be caused by the sizes of the lower and upper jaw being different from one another or by different sizes of teeth. It creates a lack of space that makes the teeth overlap each other or become crooked in more than one ways. It is among the most common type of crooked teeth issue that people deal with, and it can cause bacterial problems in the mouth, gum disease, and tooth decay. Crowding will get worst over time if it is not treated.
Openbite happens when some teeth don’t connect with the opposite teeth the way they should. Thumb-sucking is a common reason for this, but some people get them handed down in their genes. Openbites can create speech impediments like a lisp, be painful when eating, and cause headaches. They can also be the reason for larger problems like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
When people are looking to get a cavity filled or taken care of or are looking to get their teeth cleaned, they go to a dentist. When they are suffering from issues related to crooked teeth, they look to orthodontics for a solution. Both professions help people out with their teeth, but orthodontics provides tools and devices that help specifically with malocclusion.