The technical term for a “bad bite” is a malocclusion. There are many different types of malocclusions depending on what the exact nature of the problem. Sometimes, a poor bite only develops on one side of the mouth instead of both sides. This situation, which is commonly known as a crossbite, happens because of an asymmetry of the teeth or jaw. This lack of balance can occur when some of the teeth on one side are lost, or if they never come in at all.
In a bi-lateral crossbite, (meaning one side only), the top teeth on one side close either outside or across the bottom teeth. This happens because the lower jaw shifts from side to side when the mouth is closing in an attempt to correct for the mismatch of the upper jaw and the lower jaw. This shift creates a misalignment of the teeth.
Another problem with a crossbite has to do with the damage it does to the teeth themselves. Since the teeth are coming into contact with one another at an unnatural angle, the enamel on the teeth is gradually worn off. Enamel is the outer layer of the teeth and serves as the protection against tooth decay. As enamel is scraped away by a crossbite, permanent damage to the teeth becomes more and more likely. This situation gets even worse when combined with regular sugar intake, which also destroys tooth enamel. The end result can be a need for massive dental reconstructive surgery, which is both costly and unpleasant.
Luckily, a crossbite can be fixed with orthodontic treatment. Braces and special appliances can gradually bring the teeth back into alignment. However, the enamel on your teeth cannot be replaced. If the mouth is restored to its naturally intended symmetry, all of the problems just described can be avoided if treated in time.
If you think your teeth or your child’s are out of alignment in any way, it pays to talk to an orthodontist about solutions. Contact our office to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Eric Wu. Take a lesson from nature—there is beauty in symmetry!