You may have heard us talk about your child’s occlusion at her visits to our pediatric dental office in Long Island. Or perhaps your dentist has mentioned your own occlusion at your regular appointments. But what exactly are we talking about when we speak about occlusion? Is it something you should worried about? Let’s take a closer look at what occlusion means and examine a few concerns that are related to it.
What is Occlusion?
Occlusion is just a fancy, scientific name dentists use to describe the bite, or how the upper teeth match up against the lower teeth when the mouth is closed or while chewing. You may have heard several ways we tend to classify a “bad bite” including crossbite, overbite, or underbite. All of these types of occlusion can lead to unique problems that should be corrected by a dental professional.
In More Detail: Crossbites, Overbites, and Underbites
There are a variety of bite problems that happen, but in this blog we’re going to examine the three most common in children.
- Signs: A crossbite is usually suspected when one or more of the upper teeth fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
- If left untreated: Crossbites can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth, gum disease, bone loss, asymmetrical jaw development, and jaw problems (known as TMJ or TMD).
- Signs: When the mouth is closed and the molars are touching, if the front top teeth cover the bottom front teeth, there’s a good chance an overbite is to be blamed.
- If left untreated: An untreated overbite can inhibit teeth from functioning properly, leave the person at increased risk for gum disease and other gum problems, and wear down the front teeth.
- Signs: Opposite of an overbite, an underbite is when the lower teeth fall in front of the top teeth when biting.
- If left untreated: Underbites usually result from either undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. If not corrected, teeth may not be able to function properly and can lead to painful TMJ/TMD issues.
If you suspect any potential issues with your child’s bite, we welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to see your child and work with you both to determine what, if any, treatment would be appropriate to correct the bite for a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.