Have you noticed that your teeth don’t line up as they once did? Your bottom teeth have shifted slightly, or your top teeth have more of a gap than they once did. How did that happen, and what can you do about it? Your jaw is constantly growing and changing, so it’s not unusual for your teeth to shift over time. However, leaving your teeth misaligned can lead to bite problems, jaw pain, and even overall health issues. It’s best to fix your teeth before a bad problem becomes worse.
The team at Hodges Orthodontics knows all about teeth misalignment and why it’s important to fix it. Our skilled, friendly professionals have seen first-hand how repairing our patients’ bites has improved their health and self-esteem. Building a better bite can alleviate pain and jaw popping and make it easier to chew and digest food. But why do your teeth shift, and how exactly can Hodges Orthodontics help? Let us show you the answers!
Signs top teeth don’t align with bottom teeth
How do you know for sure that your teeth are not aligned? There are several signs to show whether your teeth are out of alignment. In some cases, it’s easy to see that your bottom and top teeth aren’t lined up. For others, it may be a bit more subtle.
Here are some of the most common signs of tooth misalignment.
Misalignment is visible
It’s pretty easy to see teeth or jaw misalignment. Simply close your mouth, then open your lips. You should see the line between your top front incisors line up with the bottom front incisors at their natural positions. If that vertical line has shifted, your teeth or jaws are out of alignment.
Biting is difficult
It may be difficult to bite and chew food properly with misaligned teeth. Misaligned teeth put excessive pressure where it shouldn’t exist. Your jaw may feel tired or painful from chewing, particularly while eating chewy or crunchy foods.
Do you bite your cheek or tongue often? That may be because your top and bottom teeth don’t align. Your teeth may slip during biting and hit some part of the inside of your mouth instead.
Your speech largely depends on the placement of your tongue against your teeth. If your teeth are misaligned, your tongue won’t hit your teeth where it should. This could cause a slight slur or lisp to your speech.
Grinding of the teeth
You may grind your teeth more with misaligned teeth because your teeth are trying to fit into their natural position. You may do this while chewing or even in your sleep. Grinding puts excessive pressure on your teeth and jaws. Over time, you could have jaw pain or chipped or cracked teeth.
Problems brushing and flossing
Misaligned teeth may also overlap or have either too much or too little space between them. This could make it much more difficult to brush and floss properly.
Why don’t my top and bottom teeth line up?
We know the problems misaligned teeth can cause, but do you know what causes misaligned teeth in the first place? No problem! Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes!
Your teeth may shift due to age, wisdom teeth eruption, or because other teeth didn’t erupt properly. Misaligned teeth can put pressure on your jaw, which slowly shifts to compensate for it.
Genetics and defects
Genetics can cause you to have a smaller or larger upper or lower jaw than usual. You may even end up with a larger upper jaw and a smaller lower jaw. This could cause misalignment of your teeth as they erupt. Defects such as missing teeth or a cleft palate can also cause teeth shifting.
Grinding your teeth, called bruxism, puts pressure on your teeth that shouldn’t be there, causing pain in your jaw, face, or even your neck. This can also cause headaches. Your jaw may shift to try to alleviate the excess pressure.
Bad oral habits
Children who suck their thumb or a pacifier beyond the age of two can cause the shape of their mouth to change. This can lead to oral issues, such as an overbite or open bite, and that can cause their teeth to become misaligned.
Excessive dental work
Cavities, chipped teeth, or sensitive teeth can cause you to bite differently to avoid the problem areas in your mouth. Over time, your teeth can become misaligned.
Gum disease is when your gums become inflamed or infected. They can bleed or pull away from the teeth. Your teeth can shift because the gums no longer support the teeth properly or hold them in the right place.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder (also called TMD) describes the inflammation of the joint between your upper and lower jaws. Problems with your bite can put excess pressure on your jaw, causing it to shift. The shift in your jaw can lead to jaw pain, popping when you chew or open your mouth wide, and headaches and neck aches.
Is there a solution for my misaligned teeth?
If you’re experiencing problems with misaligned teeth, it’s best to fix them before they become more severe or painful. Hodges Orthodontics offers patients in the Tupelo, MS area several solutions for their misaligned teeth.
The most tried-and-true method is braces. Hodges Orthodontics offers a self-ligating braces system. This advanced system provides the same exceptional treatment as traditional braces but with lighter force, less pain, and less time. We can use these braces to realign your teeth into their proper positions and improve your bite.
For those who want something more discreet, we offer Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. These products can align your teeth while being nearly invisible because the aligners are clear. This makes them much harder to see on the teeth. Invisalign isn’t for everyone, but we will evaluate you and let you know whether you’re a great candidate for Invisalign!
If you’d like to get started, contact us or start with a free virtual consultation. We’ll then contact you for an in-person, complete, no-obligation evaluation and let you know the best treatment method for your misaligned teeth!