How Can Orthodontics Fix My Bite?

Here at Westfall Orthodontics, we know that the thought of orthodontic work can be daunting. Will I have to wear braces? How long will it take? Will it hurt?

Questions like these are perfectly natural. Particularly important in orthodontic work is ensuring the development of a proper bite or correcting any preexisting bite problems. Not only are aesthetic considerations at stake, but an improper bite can lead to some very practical concerns, too. We asked Dr. Chad Westfall to sit down with us and go over the question: How can orthodontics fix my bite? 

What Causes Bite Problems?

Even though every bite is different, it comes down to one of a few environmental or genetic factors:

  • Myofunctional Habits – Referring to the musculature of the jaw as it relates to orthodontic issues. Excessive thumb sucking, aggressive bottle feeding, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting, or several other behaviors can lead to bite problems. 
  • Genetics – maybe she’s born with it! 
  • Facial Development – sometimes, for whatever reason, we’ll find that a mix of environmental and genetic factors will lead to issues requiring corrective orthodontic care.
  • Injury – Ouch! Trauma such as a broken jaw or teeth can require orthodontic intervention.  

Common Bite Problems


In the case of an overbite, the upper front teeth overlap or cover part of the lower front teeth. This can lead to excessive wear and tear of the teeth, particularly the incisors (the two front teeth). Another concern with an overbite is the possibility of damage to the gum tissue leading to excessive gingival display (that’s a gummy smile to the rest of us). 

Most often, traditional or clear braces or even aligners such as Invisalign can correct the issues leading to an overbite. 


Also known as an anterior crossbite, this is where the lower jaw sits out in front of the upper jaw. When uncorrected, underbites can lead to excessive stress and pressure on the joints of the jaw and face. That means tension headaches, tooth grinding, and temporomandibular disorders, or TMJ

Underbites typically require more aggressive treatment than would be the case for the more common mild overbites. In more severe cases of underbite, Dr. Westfall may refer you to an oral or maxillofacial surgeon with whom he’ll work closely to reshape the jaw to develop a proper bite.


Refers to a misalignment of either the teeth, jaws or both, in which upper teeth sit inside lower teeth. This often becomes worse over time and can lead to issues with properly chewing food. The sooner this is detected, the better. That’s why we recommend that even if you don’t notice any visible malocclusion in your child’s teeth, you take them in to see an orthodontic specialist like Dr. Westfall by the time they’re seven years old, according to the ADA. 

Open Bite

Another case in which early detection can save a whole heap of trouble, an open bite may lead to swallowing and airway issues! This is the case for both anterior and posterior open bites. 

With an anterior open bite, the upper and lower teeth never meet or overlap when the back teeth are together, causing a visible gap in the space, leading to the name. A posterior open bite is similar, but the front and side teeth will close properly, but a gap forms in the back teeth. 

Dr. Westfall will fit you or your child with custom braces specially designed for dealing with an open bite, so never fear! 


One of the most common orthodontic issues, crowding, can cause self-esteem issues due to a lack of confidence in your smile, but there are more functional concerns as well. Crowding can lead to difficulty maintaining proper dental hygiene. This can cause an increase in cavities and gum disease, such as gingivitis. 


The opposite of crowding is spacing. As the name suggests, there is just too much space between teeth. All that extra space is ideal for the formation of harmful plaque and bacteria, so just like with crowding, this can lead to issues of gum disease and other oral hazards that go along with having difficulty maintaining proper dental hygiene.  

Dental Midlines

Often a result of early loss of baby teeth or missing permanents, dental midline issues result from your upper and lower incisors not aligning symmetrically. For a famous example of dental midline issues, check out early photos of the actor Tom Cruise. 

He had his dental midline issues addressed with braces when it was time for his children to see their orthodontist, and so can you! Not only can dental midline problems lead to self-confidence issues, but also they can lead to systemic orthodontic malocclusion if left untreated. 

How Can Orthodontics Fix My Bite?

Westfall Orthodontics is where good bites are born! 

Thanks for taking the time to learn more about how orthodontics can fix your bite! Everyone here at Westfall Orthodontics feels privileged to serve the communities of Richlands, Abingdon, and Bristol, and a big part of that is keeping you informed with readings like this one. 

We know you might have more questions we didn’t cover, so feel free to give us a call, or come see us today for your free consultation!