What Can Happen When Your Teeth Don’t Line Up And Your Bite Is Off

If Your Teeth Are Misaligned & You Have An Uneven Bite, Here Are The Side Effects

bite adjustment image of misaligned teeth

In this post, you’re going to learn the reasons why you may need a bite adjustment also known as an occlusal adjustment.

What Is A Malocclusion?

The word “occlusion” refers to the way your teeth line up and fit together. A healthy occlusion is one where your jaws and teeth align properly. But issues such as crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and other bite concerns are referred to as a “malocclusion”, or simply having misaligned teeth.

7 Reason Why You May Need A Teeth & Bite Adjustment

Higher Chance of Dental Emergencies

When you think about crooked teeth, crowding and gaps probably come to mind first. But tooth misalignment also involves jetted-out front teeth (sometimes referred to as an overjet or overbite, depending on the situation.) It’s typically no surprise to learn that these sorts of malocclusions are more prone to injuries and accidents.

For example, if you have an overjet (the top front teeth protrude) and get bumped in the mouth during athletic activity or tumble in the back yard, your teeth are at a greater risk of fracturing. But teeth that are properly aligned and protected by your lips are less prone to breaking off during occasional accidents.  If you experience repeated injuries to your top front teeth, then orthodontic therapy or aligners (malocclusion adjustment therapy) could be an extremely beneficial investment.

Gum Disease Linked to Tooth Misalignment

Any time someone has misaligned teeth, they’re more prone to developing periodontal (gum) disease in that space. If you’re already someone with a history of gum health problems — or periodontitis runs in your family — then you should pay extra attention to those areas. Taking extra time to keep them clean is extremely important. But even then, crowded and tilted teeth tend to collect more food debris and bacterial plaque. All of that constant exposure to buildup will trigger an immune response in your gums. After a matter of days, your gum tissue will become inflamed and possibly start to bleed when stimulated. 

Untreated gum disease leads to tissue detachment, bone loss, pocketing around your teeth (under the gums), tooth mobility, and tooth loss. Occlusal bite adjustment therapy is considered an effective part of a comprehensive periodontal treatment plan when tooth misalignment is a concern.

Read more about ways to take care of your gums.

Is Tooth Decay a Consequence of Crooked Teeth?

Crooked teeth are at a statistically higher risk of developing tooth decay (cavities.) Why? Just like having a greater chance of gum disease, tooth misalignment makes it difficult to clean between your teeth. Since interproximal areas (where your teeth touch side by side) are some of the most cavity-prone in your mouth, crooked teeth complicate your condition by harboring plaque and acidic bacteria. If you don’t floss every day, those “crooked” spaces will likely be the ones that get cavities before the rest of your teeth do.

Once you get a filling, you’re not off the hook. Recurring tooth decay can form around your restoration and cause it to fail. So even if you’ve treated the cavity you still need to keep flossing routinely. Great oral hygiene combined with a removable aligner therapy can make it easier to straighten your teeth while also controlling plaque buildup in hard-to-reach areas.

Crooked Teeth, Irregular Wear Patterns & Broken Dental Work

Tooth enamel is the hardest, most durable substance in the entire human body. It’s stronger than bone. When teeth are aligned properly, they can safely bite together over and over without significance. But crooked teeth bite against one another in an irregular pattern. Instead of specific areas meeting one another, the enamel hits end-on-end or creates heavy pressure points in specific areas of your mouth.

Over time, all of these irregular wear patterns (caused by misaligned teeth) will result in your teeth wearing down prematurely. Some teeth may simply start to look shorter, or develop sharp, flat edges on their chewing surfaces. Other times the teeth wear down irregularly, causing certain ones to look out of place.

Irregular tooth wear doesn’t just cause premature aging in your smile. It can also place you at risk of having damaged dental work. Since restorations like fillings and crowns aren’t as dense as enamel, they’re likely to fracture in addition to your surrounding teeth. An imbalanced occlusion could mean your dental work fractures — breaking the tooth too — simply because it’s constantly exposed to excessive and irregular pressure.

Can Misaligned Teeth Cause TMJ Disorder?

We move our jaw thousands of times per day. From smiling to speaking to chewing our food, each movement requires fluid motion in and around our TMJ joints. But when we have crooked teeth and upper and lower teeth don’t bite together (occlude) properly, it requires small atypical movements in our TMJ to fully chew and grind down our food. The repeated irregular motion can slowly take a toll on the ligaments and tissues that make up our jaw joints. Before long, these unhealthy movements contribute to structural damage, limited range of motion, and a classic case of TMJ disorder.

No matter how much therapy or what pain relief treatments you put toward your TMJ disorder symptoms, the way your teeth fit together will continually impact healthy joint function.

Cheek, Tongue and Lip Biting Is A Malocclusion Symptom

Any time someone has misaligned teeth or an uneven bite, there’s the chance of their bite coming into contact with soft tissue. In other words, crooked teeth are more likely to accidentally injure the inside of their cheek, tongue or lip when they’re biting and chewing food. Any time we bite our cheek, that area usually starts to swell and is prone to repeated injuries every time we eat. Especially if the teeth are worn with sharp edges.

Can Malocclusions Cause Speech Problems?

Our speaking abilities are dependent on each of our oral tissues. Lip and tongue positions aren’t the only factors that impact the way our voice sounds. The alignment of our teeth also comes into play. You probably notice this the most when a young child loses their front teeth. It’s no different when an adult’s teeth are displaced. “The more severe or handicapping the malocclusion, the more likely that a speech sound error will occur.” –source  If you’ve ever wondered if an overbite or an underbite create speech problems, the linked American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics article shows evidence to support that.

Bite Adjustment Treatments for Crooked Teeth

Early orthodontic intervention and bite adjustments can help you minimize the severity of misaligned teeth. But adults can also find effective teeth straightening at any age, with the help of conventional orthodontics or removable alignment trays such as the Invisalign alternative, ClearCorrect.

If you’re experiencing these common side-effects of misaligned teeth, request a consultation at Canal Vista Family Dental today. Our Princeton dentist will evaluate your bite to determine how we can help you enjoy a healthier smile for years to come.

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