Buck Teeth: What are They and Is It Important to Fix Them?
Among the countless dental problems that people face, buck teeth is the most common. This often ignored dental condition is the result of certain childhood habits like thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, etc. But it can also occur naturally. Sometimes, the positioning of the lower jaw is such that it exerts pressure on the teeth, which in turn pushes them forwards.
Many people choose to leave their buck teeth untreated. While it does not pose any major health consequences, in some severe cases it becomes necessary to get them treated.
Buck Teeth Meaning – All You Need to Know About it
Also known as overjet, buck teeth are characterized by a horizontal overlapping between the upper and lower front teeth. The severity of this condition depends upon the overlapping between the teeth. In some severe cases, these protruding teeth make it impossible for you to close your lips.
For cosmetic purposes, some people chose to treat their crooked teeth with veneers or artificial teeth. Others rely on braces to correct their alignment.
Buck teeth can hinder the chewing process which can interfere with your digestion. They may also hurt your teeth other than them, gums, and tongue.
Causes of Protruding or Buck Teeth
Toy with protruding teeth, Credit: Pixabay
There are various causes of buck teeth. Here are some possible reasons for this condition.
Not enough gap between teeth
Mouth tumors and jaw cysts
1. Childhood habits
Many children suck their thumbs which affect the alignment of their teeth overtime. This habit, particularly after 7 years of age can exert pressure on the front teeth causing it to protrude. Continuous thrusting of tongue against the teeth may also contribute to this condition.
The teeth can also be naturally misaligned. It can be inherited from either of the parents. Some people are born with prominent front teeth and this condition may pass on to their offspring.
3. Not Enough Gap Between Teeth
Overcrowding of teeth can misalign them. Extra teeth and not having enough gap between teeth can also affect their alignment to a large extent.
4. Mouth Tumours and Jaw Cysts
Tumours and cysts in the mouth and jaw can impact the alignment of your teeth. A swelling in the tissues inside the mouth can change the shape of your mouth and jaw. It in turn pushes out your front teeth.
Is it Important to Fix Buck Teeth?
Doctor and patient, Credit: Pixabay
Apart from aesthetic reasons, severe buck teeth can have significant health consequences. Some of them are:
Mouth and jaw injury
1. Speech Obstruction
Difficulty in speech due to protruding front teeth is common. You may find it difficult to pronounce letters and words containing alphabets like M, B, V, P, F, S.
2. Breathing Problems
Overcrowded teeth indicate a small jaw. It gives way to a small air passage. An abnormally developed airway is also the result of a small jaw. Such limitations in the airway can cause disordered breathing, particularly when you’re asleep.
3. Inefficient Chewing
Misaligned teeth can make the chewing process ineffective. It thus affects your digestive process. A poor digestion may lead to several other health ailments.
4. Mouth and Jaw Injury
Protruding teeth are at greater risk of being hurt, particularly during any physical sport. Simultaneously, your mouth and jaw are also prone to getting seriously injured.
How Can You Fix Buck Teeth?
healthy teeth illustration, Credit: Pixabay
There are some special functional appliances that are used to push back the protruding front teeth. After that, braces, especially the invisible ones like Invisalign are used. The aligners or braces work especially well when administered at a young age.
Alternatively, your dentist may also use an oral appliance called the palate expander on the upper molars. They work to create more space by widening the roof of your mouth. This, over time, aligns your jaw and upper teeth. For severe cases, a jaw surgery is recommended to treat this condition.
Buck teeth, thus is a dental condition that can vary in severity from person to person. Usually, it is not very harmful. However, in certain extreme cases, apart from aesthetic concerns, it is not a good idea to leave it untreated.