Buck teeth or protruding front teeth can be naturally occurring or due to certain habits such as thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, etc. People may or may not want to treat this dental condition. However, dentists will tell you why protruding teeth or buck teeth shouldn’t be ignored. Such misaligned teeth are more than merely a dental problem as they can lead to several health complications if left untreated.
Let’s learn more about this condition, its causes, related problems, and the available treatments.
What does Buck Teeth Mean?
When the upper front teeth horizontally overlap the lower front teeth, it results in a condition known as ‘overjet.’ This is commonly known as buck teeth. People often use the terms ‘overjet’ and ‘overbite’ interchangeably. However, in an overbite, the front teeth vertically overlap the lower teeth.
The condition of buck teeth can be as minor as two front teeth slightly overlapping the adjacent lateral incisors. In some cases, it may be so severe that it becomes impossible to close the lips over those protruding teeth.
What Causes Buck Teeth?
The following are some of the common causes of protruding teeth or buck teeth:
- Thumb Sucking – Buck teeth from thumb sucking is a common dental problem in children. Continual thumb-sucking may affect the mouth, teeth and palate alignment. Hence, parents must consult a children’s orthodontist for proper guidance and treatment at an early stage to prevent further complications.
- Tongue Thrusting – If the tongue is thrust against the teeth for short periods, it may not affect the positioning of the teeth. However, if it is pushed against the teeth consistently, it may result in an open bite or protruding teeth.
- Natural Alignment – If one or both the parents have protruding teeth, the child may have them too. If the child shows signs of misaligned or crooked teeth, you should consult the orthodontist at the earliest. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the right time for your child’s first orthodontist visit is by the time he or she turns 7. The orthodontist is better able to determine whether the child’s bite will have any issues or not at this age. If there are any indications of buck teeth, the orthodontist may create a customized treatment plan to rectify the bite.
What are Related Problems?
Buck teeth correction is important because they are more than just a cosmetic concern. If left untreated for long, they may result in the following health implications:
- Speech Impediment – Since the upper front teeth and the lips are affected, it can lead to speech difficulties. Generally, a person with a large overbite or open bite will have trouble saying words with letters F, M, B, V, P, and S.
- Airway Problems – Protruding teeth by themselves don’t cause problems in the airway, but the factors responsible for causing buck teeth do. A small jaw size not only means overcrowded teeth but also a small air passage. Similarly, a lower jaw that is small and retruded also results in an abnormal airway. Poorly developed or restricted airway leads to sleep-disordered breathing, snoring, and sleep apnoea, which affects the overall quality of life.
- Chewing issues – Improper alignment of teeth in both the jaws often results in chewing issues. Improper chewing can further lead to poor digestion. Buck teeth may also cause pain during biting or chewing.
Other problems include damage to surrounding teeth and gums, alteration in facial appearance, etc.
What are the Treatment Options?
The treatment for buck teeth depends on the severity of your case and hence it may differ from person to person. Listed below are some of the most widely used buck teeth treatments.
- Functional Appliances – These are special braces that push the upper teeth back and move the lower teeth forward. Once they have done their job, the orthodontist may replace them with braces or aligners to completely straighten the teeth. If these appliances don’t work, headgear, extractions or jaw surgery may be recommended.
- Braces or Aligners – If the problem is spotted early, children in their early years or even in their teens can benefit from braces. Similarly, adults having buck teeth can also benefit from braces or Invisalign aligners. Such braces or aligners help gradually move teeth to their correct position. Traditional braces have metal brackets and wires. Invisalign aligners are clear plastic trays custom-made as per your teeth. Hence, parents must consult a children’s orthodontist for proper guidance and teeth straightening treatment at an early stage to prevent further complications.
- Palate Expansion – A specially-designed oral appliance known as the palate expander is attached to the upper molars. An expansion screw gradually moves the two parts of the expander apart to widen the palate.
- Jaw Surgery – In severe cases, orthognathic or jaw surgery is prescribed. Such patients have an overbite due to problems in skeletal or jaw structure. The surgery involves pushing the bones of the upper jaw behind or moving the lower jaw forward.
It’s important to fix buck teeth at the earliest as they can not only lead to oral issues but to overall health issues also. If you’d like to know how to fix buck teeth Visit us today.