Skip to main content

Orthodontic Treatment for Bite Issues

By May 21, 2020December 11th, 2023Blog, Orthodontics

father and son in orthodontic virtual consultationCan Invisalign fix an overbite? Can braces fix a crossbite? These are the types of questions Dr. James Scramstad gets a lot.  Of course, it’s because when a patient comes to Straight Smiles, their main concern is whether or not their orthodontic issue can be remedied. Well, thanks to Dr. Scramstad’s knowledge and experience, he’s able to address a wide range of cases from mild to complex. To give you a better idea, we’re going into a little more detail on the common bite issues and how we strive to treat them. 

What is Crowding?

Crowding is when there isn’t enough room in the jaw for the teeth to fit. Teeth may overlap, twist or shift forward or back in an attempt to squeeze in. Crowding can occur if baby teeth fall out too early or because of an imbalance in the tooth-to-jaw-size ratio. When teeth are crowded, they’re harder to keep clean, which makes you more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. 

How We Fix Crowding

Braces and Clear Aligners for crowded teeth can both be very successful. In the past, extractions were more common but thanks to innovations in techniques and treatments, we can often get good results without removing teeth. The steady pressure exerted from the braces wires or Invisalign aligners shifts the teeth to create more space and then guides them into their ideal places. Sometimes, we’ll also use tooth-colored Invisalign attachments along with your aligners to help facilitate more complex tooth movements.

What is Spacing?

Spacing is the opposite of crowding and happens when the teeth don’t fill out all of the available space in the jaw. It’s characterized by gaps between two or more teeth. It can be because the teeth are just too narrow or from oral habits like prolonged thumb sucking. Not only is spacing an aesthetic concern, it can also have a negative impact on the health of the gums.

How We Fix Spacing

Closing gaps between the teeth is fairly straightforward. Braces and Invisalign work well for spacing. However, after you finish braces or Invisalign, it will be important to wear a retainer so the teeth don’t shift apart again. 

What is a Crossbite?

If some of the upper teeth are inside the lower teeth when the jaw is closed, we call it a crossbite. A crossbite can be an anterior crossbite or a posterior crossbite depending on which teeth are involved. A crossbite may be the result of genetics, trauma or certain oral habits. It’s extremely important to treat a crossbite and the earlier the better. Why? Well, people have a tendency to shift their jaw to one side to compensate for it and that can lead to permanent changes in their facial structure. 

How We Fix a Crossbite?

How to fix a crossbite depends on which teeth are affected, the severity and whether it’s dental or skeletal in nature. Often, with a crossbite elastics will be used in conjunction with braces or Invisalign to align the jaw while we simultaneously shift the teeth into place. This ensures your smile looks fantastic and your bite is healthy as well. If you look at crossbite before and after photos, you’ll notice improvements in how the upper and lower teeth come together. Usually, if a crossbite can be treated with braces, it can also be treated with Invisalign.

What is an Overbite (Deep Bite)?

A deep bite is when the top teeth almost completely overlap the bottom teeth. Almost everyone has a least a little bit of an overbite but when the space between the upper and lower teeth is too large, it’s a concern. Depending on the degree, we might refer to it as Class 1 malocclusion or Class 2 malocclusion. An overbite, or deep bite, can lead to uneven wear of the teeth, jaw pain and make the front teeth more prone to injury.

How We Fix an Overbite

At Straight Smiles, we can address an overbite with braces or Invisalign. In some cases, if we catch the issue early on and it’s severe, two-phase orthodontic treatment may be indicated. If that happens, we’ll advance the lower jaw during phase one and then straighten the teeth with braces or Invsisalign Teen during phase two.

Like we mentioned earlier, we want to create the ideal bite after braces or Invisalign in addition to making your smile look great. To do that, we may use elastics along with your braces, or for Invisalign patients, attachments and rubber bands. This will help shift the jaws into the correct place, while the pressure from your braces wires or aligners straightens the teeth.

What are Flared Teeth (Overjet)?

Overjet, or flared teeth, is when teeth flare out (point forward) over the bottom teeth. People sometimes called flared teeth protruding teeth or “buck teeth.” It’s most evident when viewed from the side. Flared teeth, or buck teeth, make patients feel really self conscious, they’re at a higher risk of damage and it can lead to problems with chewing.

How we Fix Flared Teeth

Thankfully, flared teeth are easily treated with Invisalign or braces. The appliance will exert steady pressure to shift the teeth back so that they’re in a better position. This will keep them safe from damage and improve the appearance of your smile. 

What is an Underbite?

If your bottom teeth sit in front of your top teeth, you have an underbite. An underbite is the result of the upper and lower jaw growing at different rates and it’s a skeletal issue. It can make it hard to chew and speak and there will be uneven wear of the teeth.

How We Fix an Underbite

Since an underbite is skeletal in nature, diagnosing and addressing it early will ensure you get the best results. We usually treat an underbite in children with two-phase orthodontic treatment. We’ll guide the growth of the jaw in phase one and then align the teeth in phase two. When an underbite is severe and the patient is done growing, surgical orthodontics could be necessary. That’s where we combine orthodontic treatment with jaw surgery. However, thanks to modern treatments and techniques, we have been able to fix an underbite without surgery using braces or Invisalign in more cases than we could in the past. 

What is an Open Bite?

A patient is said to have an open bite if the upper and lower teeth don’t make contact when the mouth is closed. An open bite can be genetic and a skeletal issue or it can be caused by oral habits like tongue thrusting, prolonged pacifier use or thumb sucking. Since the teeth don’t meet, it makes it hard to chew and bite into foods.

How We Fix an Open Bite

Braces are a great option for treating an open bite or if you want to fix an open bite without braces, Invisalign is just as effective. By shifting the upper and lower teeth into place, they’ll come together properly. This boosts both the appearance and function of your smile.  

Of course, these aren’t the only problems we see and you could even have a combination of issues. Every smile is unique, which is why Dr. Scramstad creates a personalized treatment plan to give you the best outcome for your needs. To find out how our Kelowna braces or Invisalign treatment can help you, schedule a virtual consultation at Straight Smiles today!

Dr. James Scramstad

Author Dr. James Scramstad

More posts by Dr. James Scramstad