There are various forms of bite misalignment or malocclusion, such as an open bite, underbite, or overbite. Common dental alignment problems also included overcrowded or crooked teeth. The earlier you notice and address malocclusion, the better your chances of successfully realigning your teeth and jaws. So how do you know that your bite is shifting and you may need orthodontic treatment? Look out for the following signs.
1. Speech Problems
When you have a misaligned bite, it can be challenging to pronounce certain words. Crooked teeth can make it more difficult to control airflow and tongue movements, which are vital to speech. If you have trouble pronouncing words or hear a whistling noise when you speak, your bite might be shifting. It is important to visit your dentist or orthodontist if you suspect that alignment issues are affecting your speech, as these problems can be corrected with orthodontic appliances.
2. Difficulty Biting or Chewing
If your teeth or jaws are not in their ideal positions, you may find it difficult to bite down on food or experience discomfort while chewing. This problem is common in individuals with advanced alignment issues like open bites and crossbites. On the same note, if you frequently bite your inner cheeks or tongue when eating, you may have bite problems that need orthodontic treatment.
3. Cleaning Your Teeth Is Challenging
Overcrowded teeth can be difficult to clean properly. When teeth overlap, toothbrush bristles and floss may not reach in between the teeth to sufficiently clean them. Inadequate cleaning may lead to the accumulation of plaque and bacteria, increasing your risk of oral health issues like gum disease and cavities. Therefore, you shouldn’t ignore dental alignment issues that are impacting your oral hygiene routine.
4. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Involuntary teeth grinding during sleep, also known as bruxism, can be a sign of malocclusion. This condition is common in people with misaligned teeth due to the incorrect positioning of the jaw, which makes teeth clenching or grinding more likely. Teeth grinding or clenching not only wears out your teeth but may also lead to jaw pain and headaches.
5. Failing Dental Work
If you have received restorative dental treatments like fillings or crowns and they fall out or otherwise fail, your bite may be shifting. When your teeth are not in their correct positions, regular movement from chewing and speaking can make your restorations become loose or fall out of place. You may even notice cracks or fissures in your restorations as misaligned teeth clash against one another. This can increase your risk of tooth decay in places that were previously protected by dental restorations.
While misaligned teeth or an uneven bite are often evident based on the appearance of your smile, there are also many subtle signs that may suggest an alignment issue. If you observe any of the above symptoms, consider visiting your dentist or orthodontist to ensure you get the care you need.