Everyone yearns for perfect teeth but not all of us are blessed with good-looking teeth and there can be many thing wrong with our teeth. One such problem is buck teeth. Any disturbance in the alignment of teeth is corrected by orthodontic treatment which includes Invisalign, a teeth straightening alternative to traditional dental braces which is becoming popular due to its transparent orthodontic trays. Commonly used to correct minor to moderate disturbances in our bite, can Invisalign fix buck teeth?
What are buck teeth?
Buck teeth are often associated with an overbite but in fact a person with buck teeth is more likely to be suffering from increased overjet. Overjet is defined as the horizontal space between the upper and lower front teeth (incisors) or how much the upper front teeth project outward towards the lip relative to the lower front teeth.
On the other hand, an overbite is defined as the vertical space between the front teeth or how much the upper front teeth project downward relative to the lower front teeth. The term “buck tooth” comes from the fact that buck teeth resembles those of a moose and they may sometimes hinder the complete closure of lips.
What causes buck teeth?
Buck teeth can be caused by several reasons. Genetics or skeletal factors which can lead to protruded upper jaw, a retruded lower jaw or a combination of both can cause buck teeth. A naturally short lip or a long face can also contribute to the tooth problem. Furthermore, certain habits like persistent tongue-thrusting and thumb-sucking can lead to the development of buck teeth. Severity of the buck teeth depends on the frequency, intensity and duration of habit.
Should buck teeth be corrected?
Buck teeth may lead to an increased risk of trauma to the front teeth but is more likely so in those with prominent buck teeth. Severe buck teeth can affect your appearance as well as your self-esteem and can also lead to development of certain habits like mouth breathing or the inability to eat or chew properly.
A mild increased in overjet between the upper and lower front teeth is acceptable if you find yourself comfortable with your appearance and that you do not find the buck teeth causing you any functional problems, for example giving difficulties when you speak or mouth breathing.
Can Invisalign fix buck teeth?
Invisalign does not require metal wires and brackets therefore it has a strong cosmetic advantage over traditional braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic removable orthodontic trays called aligners which can be used to correct minor or mild overjet if the wearer is compliant to the orthodontic treatment plan. The aligners apply less force and less pain than fixed orthodontic appliances. As the aligners can be removed, tooth brushing and oral hygiene maintenance is much easier than when wearing traditional braces.
However if your orthodontist deem your buck teeth condition as severe after your orthodontic assessment, Invisalign orthodontics might not be your answer for the system is limited in its ability to correct severe dental problems.
What are the other methods to fix buck teeth?
There are many orthodontic appliances available to correct buck teeth. Traditional or conventional dental braces use wires and metal brackets to correct dental problems. Fixed braces have the advantage of precise tooth control with multiple tooth movements and patient cooperation is reduced in comparison to removable orthodontic appliance wear. Therefore conventional braces are able to fix severe forms of buck teeth. Though wearing fixed dental braces maybe uncomfortable, it may be the only alternative solution to Invisalign. Extraction of teeth may be necessary to gain space for the correction of buck teeth.
A removable orthodontic appliance such as Hawley’s appliance may be sufficient if only tipping movement of the front teeth is required.
However if the cause of the buck teeth is due to skeletal problems, as in the upper jaw (maxilla) is more protruded out compared to the lower jaw (mandible), merely wearing orthodontic braces will not solve your buck teeth problem. At times, the lower jaw might be the cause of the buck teeth by being very backwardly placed. In these types of situations, surgical intervention is necessary to deal with the forwardly placed upper jaw or backwardly placed lower jaw in adults beyond the limits of camouflage.
Growth modification can be done if there is favorable growth in a young growing patient whereby a headgear is used to restrain the upper jaw and a functional appliance is given to encourage lower jaw growth, fixing the buck teeth and the skeletal problem in the process.