Are you thinking, “My bite is still off even after getting braces”? Your teeth are designed to work together like gears in a machine, so correct alignment is very important. If one gear is off, the whole machine begins malfunctioning. But it can be hard to tell if your teeth are aligned correctly or not, especially if you’ve already had braces. In this blog, we’re sharing everything you need to know about proper (and improper) bite and teeth alignment.
Here are some questions you can expect us to answer:
- What is correct bite alignment?
- What are the symptoms of my bite being off?
- Is it normal for teeth to move slightly after braces?
- How fast do teeth move after getting braces off?
First, we discuss teeth alignment, then we get into bite problems. And, of course, we end with a solution to your bite and smile concerns. Let’s begin!
Is It Normal for Teeth to Move Slightly After Braces?
You may be asking, “Is it normal for teeth to move slightly after braces?” Like any part of your body, teeth change. So yes, it is normal for teeth to “settle” after braces or Invisalign treatment is complete.
An orthodontist uses braces or Invisalign to gradually move your teeth into the proper position. In between appointments, orthodontic appliances keep your teeth from regressing into their previous placements. However, when treatment is over, there’s nothing controlling your teeth 24/7. Even if you’re wearing your retainer nightly, you will likely notice some shift in your teeth, which is expected.
How Fast Do Teeth Move After Getting Braces Off?
Post-treatment, retainers are key to preventing undesirable tooth movement. While some movement is expected, it shouldn’t get to the point where you experience symptoms of your bite being off or your front teeth look crooked.
Keep a close eye on your smile. You can expect to see a little movement within the first couple of months post-treatment. Contact your orthodontist as soon as possible if you notice significant changes in your smile or you’re experiencing bite problems after braces or Invisalign.
How to Tell If Your Bite Is Off
How to know if your bite is correct starts with ruling out some of the symptoms of your bite being off. Sometimes, bite problems can be hard to detect, while others are painfully obvious. Below we’ve listed five signs you have a bad bite.
1. Jaw pain
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) hinge your lower jaw to your skull. The joint on either side of your face gives your jaw the necessary range of motion for talking, eating, and yawning. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) prevent the complex system of muscles, bones, and joints from working together in harmony. There are many factors that affect an individual’s TMD symptoms. In some cases, this can be related to the bite.
2. Crooked or crowded teeth
If your front teeth are crooked or overcrowded, you can easily tell when you smile in the mirror. If your backmost teeth (e.g., molars) are in the wrong place, you’ll be able to tell when you chew. The force of your jaw will be unevenly applied to certain teeth instead of the food.
3. Tongue injuries
A great indicator of a misaligned bite after braces is your tongue. If you have a bad bite, your tongue is likely cut, nicked, and bitten regularly. Sometimes you may bite your tongue accidentally, but it could also signal that your bite is out of alignment.
Headaches are not uncommon, but did you know that they can be a symptom of a misaligned bite? When your bite is off, the muscles that move your jaw may become tense and strained. This built-up tension can cause mild to severe headaches.
5. Teeth grinding
“Bruxism” is the technical term for teeth grinding, and it can have serious consequences for your smile. If you grind your teeth, it can cause jaw pain and headaches. People who have bad bites may grind their teeth because of the uneven contact and undue stress put on the jaw.
6. Retainers are tight
Retainers are made to fit your straight smile as soon as orthodontic treatment is complete. If you’re wearing them as regularly as your orthodontist prescribes, your retainers shouldn’t feel painful or overly tight. However, if you inconsistently wear your retainers or ignore wearing them completely, your teeth will inevitably shift, and your retainer won’t fit right anymore.
If you experience any of the symptoms of your bite being off, it may confirm your suspicion, “My bite is off after braces.” To be sure, contact your orthodontist for a follow-up as soon as you can.
What Is Correct Bite Alignment?
“What should my bite look like?” is a common question asked by both people who have had orthodontic treatment. Correct bite alignment is when your teeth “fit like a glove” and are symmetrical on the upper and lower jaw line.
If you’re still not sure your bite is correct, and are thinking, “My bite is off after braces,” you may be experiencing an incorrect bite alignment.
4 Types of Incorrect Bite Alignment
While it’s normal to have your top teeth overlap your bottom teeth, it shouldn’t be excessive. An overbite is when your top jaw overextends beyond your lower jaw.
An underbite is the opposite of an overbite. It’s when your lower jaw rests in front of your upper jaw. This overextension causes your bottom teeth to be in front of your upper teeth.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, cross bites occur when one or more upper teeth fit inside of your lower teeth; not to be confused with an underbite which affects your entire jaw.
An open bite is the fourth and rarest kind of “bad bite.” It’s when the top and bottom teeth don’t touch each other in the front or back of the mouth, even when the jaw is shut.
What Do I Do If My Bite Is Off After Braces?
If your braces are off and teeth are not straight or, after some evaluation and research, you conclude, “My bite is off after braces,” it’s time to contact an orthodontist.
One of the reasons a patient’s bite may be “off” post-treatment could be related to a compliance issue. For instance, if a patient won’t wear their rubber bands, their bite will not end up in the right spot. Additionally, if a patient doesn’t keep their teeth clean, resulting in white spots or cavities around the braces, their orthodontist may elect to get the patient to a stopping point, which may or may not include the bite being ideal.
At Bates Orthodontics, we’ve treated patients with all types of bite problems and smile concerns. We believe that everyone needs to find an orthodontic practice that they trust and feel comfortable at, and we’d be glad to be that practice for you.
Are you experiencing symptoms of your bite being off? Have you undergone orthodontic treatment and are now noticing bite problems after braces? Whatever the situation, we can help. Schedule a complimentary consultation to speak with our orthodontic team about your smile today.