Many people want to achieve straight, perfected smiles for aesthetic reasons; we simply feel more confident when our smiles look great. However, there are also a number of health benefits to perfecting your smile. Keep reading to learn more from our Novato dentists about structural dental problems.
- Overbite: this occurs when your top teeth extend far beyond the teeth on your lower jaw. In a well-aligned smile, the top teeth sit just in front of the lower teeth, without a dramatic gap in between.
- Underbite: as you may have guessed, patients with underbites have lower teeth that actually sit in front of the patient’s top teeth. This means that the lower jaw also extends quite far forward in the patient’s facial profile.
- Crossbite: if some of your top teeth sit behind your bottom teeth, but other top teeth land in front of your bottom teeth, then you have a crossbite. This type of bite dysfunction can make it particularly difficult to bite and chew. You may also find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth, as it will be difficult to find a comfortable “resting position” for your smile.
By treating bite and dental alignment issues in a timely manner, you help to reduce your risk of developing more serious oral health issues down the road.
TMJ problems: the temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. When your bite does not come together comfortably and naturally, it puts unnecessary pressure on your TMJs. TMJ dysfunction manifests as jaw pain/discomfort, limited jaw mobility, and popping or clicking sensations when you move your jaw.
Worn down enamel: bite dysfunction often goes hand in hand with bruxism—chronic dental grinding. The repeated tooth-on-tooth contact from bruxism causes enamel to weaken and thin over time.
Increased instances of cracked and chipped enamel: when you experience dental alignment issues, you’ll likely unconsciously change the way that you bite and chew in order to compensate for the structural issue. Unfortunately, this puts an unhealthy amount of pressure on individual teeth, which leads to dental damage.
The best way to get started improving your smile is to give our Novato dentists a call to schedule a personal consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!