Bite Problems in Children and Adults

Although it is not always talked about, our bite plays a crucial role in our orthodontic health. Each person’s bite issue is based on various individual factors, but there are seven main types of bite problems that we commonly see at Alliston Orthodontics & Oral Surgery in both children and adults. We’ll discuss these types of bite problems today.


Types of Dental Bite Problems

Teeth play a significant role in our facial structure, self-confidence in our smile, ability to eat, speak, and chew, and overall oral health. However, bite problems can affect both the function and appearance of our teeth. Whether they occur in children or adults, bite problems may cause discomfort and pain now and impact our oral health in the long term. Here are seven common bite problems that we often see in both children and adults, and the potential complications they may cause if not corrected.


1. Open Bite

An open bite occurs when the upper and lower front teeth slant outward and do not touch when the mouth is closed. This can be caused by strain on the alignment of the front teeth due to thumb sucking, overuse of a pacifier or feeding bottle, TMJ disorders, or skeletal conditions. There are two subtypes of open bite:

  • Anterior open bite: This happens when the back teeth are together and the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. This can lead to mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, or excessive sucking.
  • Posterior open bite: This occurs when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth do not.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Speech problems and swallowing issues (tongue pushes through teeth when swallowing) may occur if an open bite is not corrected.


2. Crossbite

A crossbite is a common type of malocclusion (bad bite) that occurs when teeth grow closer to the cheeks or tongue. This can be caused by delayed tooth eruption, an improperly erupted tooth, or misalignment of teeth (including baby teeth). Crossbites can affect a single tooth or groups of teeth.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Asymmetrical jaw growth, shifting of the jaw to one side, and wear on the tooth enamel (outer layer of the tooth) may occur if a crossbite is not corrected.


3. Deep Bite

A deep bite, also known as an overbite or closed bite, occurs when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth excessively when the mouth is closed. Causes of this bite problem include thumb sucking or excessive nail biting in children, and grinding or clenching of teeth in adults.

Possible consequences if not corrected: The upper teeth may bite into the lower gums, and the lower teeth may bite into the roof of the mouth, leading to early wear on the enamel and possibly gum disease if a deep bite is not corrected.

4. Underbite

An underbite is a condition in which the lower teeth extend further out than the upper teeth, causing discomfort and an extended chin. Common causes of an underbite include thumb sucking in children, overuse of a baby feeding bottle, and genetics.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Abnormal stress on the jaw joints, wear on the teeth, and a “bulldog” appearance to the face may occur if an underbite is not corrected.

5. Spacing

Spacing or gap teeth problems refer to the presence of too much space between teeth. These issues may be caused by missing teeth, undersized teeth, oversized jaws, or a combination of these conditions.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Food particles may become stuck in open spaces, leading to the possibility of gum disease, cavities, and other dental issues if spacing or gap teeth are not corrected.

6. Crowding

Crowding is a condition in which the teeth do not have enough room to emerge and become crooked or rotated. It can be corrected through palatal expansion, tooth extraction, or braces.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Crooked or rotated teeth can be difficult to clean, leading to the possibility of tooth cavities if crowding is not corrected.

7. Protrusion

The protrusion, also known as “buck teeth,” is a common bite problem that occurs when the upper jaw is positioned too far forward or the lower jaw is too far back. This can cause the teeth to appear protrusion or to emerge at an angle. Poor oral habits, such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting, severe crowding, and genetics can contribute to protrusion.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Accidental fracture of upper teeth, difficulty in comfortably closing the lips and mouth, which can lead to dry oral tissues and tooth decay, speech problems, and a long, narrow face.

Orthodontic Treatment at Alliston Orthodontics & Oral Surgery

Orthodontic conditions, such as open bite, crossbite, teeth crowding, and others, are common among children, teens, and adults. These bite problems can affect an individual’s oral health and overall well-being, and it is best to address them as soon as possible. Alliston Orthodontics & Oral Surgery can help find solutions to alleviate symptoms and potentially prevent complications that may arise later in life. Depending on the patient’s age, specific issue, and other individual factors, we may recommend early preventative treatment for children, which may lead to a shorter treatment phase in their teenage years. For teenage patients, we may offer treatment options such as braces, Invisalign Teen, or addressing airway and sleep apnea concerns. Adults may also undergo orthodontic treatment for oral health protection and aesthetic reasons, and will have their own set of concerns. Regardless of age, we prioritize our patients and offer customized orthodontic treatment plans.

Are you or your child experiencing a bite problem or an orthodontic issue? Contact Alliston Orthodontics & Oral Surgery for a consultation. Our team can examine your teeth and recommend personalized treatment options to help.