Dental protrusion FAQ

A relatively frequent problem that orthodontists meet with is the problem of upper teeth protruding out of the mouth. This condition is sometimes called buck teeth, and is a malocclusion that can be easily fixed. Below is an FAQ regarding protruding teeth in the upper jaw or maxilla.

What causes protruding teeth?

Sometimes teeth genetically protrude outwards. Sometimes skeletal abnormalities or trauma to the oral cavity that affects the jawbone of the maxilla can cause protrusions. Sometimes crowding can be induced (for example from impacted wisdom teeth growing in sideways), which can cause the teeth to be pushed together and protrude. But much more frequently, habits like using pacifiers too much, or of sucking your finger can cause your teeth to protrude. Also, it may be the case that the lower jaw is simply too small, and this will make the upper teeth seem like they are protruding.

What can be done to rectify the situation?

This largely depends on why the teeth are protruding. Another factor is the extent to which the teeth protrude, and a third factor is age. If the lower jaw is too small, but only a little bit too small, and the patient is young enough, the lower jaw can be enlarged. If the causes are genetic, it gets trickier, as the results you get from orthodontry may not last long, and a retainer may need to be worn indefinitely. If the problem is crowding, clear aligners will help with that. If the problem is impacted wisdom teeth pushing your teeth in a certain direction, getting the wisdom teeth removed will likely solve the problem.

How much protrusion is too much?

When you bite down, your teeth should form something similar to a fence. The bite should be closed, and the teeth should line up with each other. If this is not the case, then you have a problem, and you may need orthodontics. If, when you bite down your front teeth protrude in a roundish manner, you are in need of orthodontic assistance.

What problems can protrusion cause?

Aside from not looking very aesthetic, and of being in certain cases uncomfortable, protruding teeth can cause a number of problems. Not biting down well can cause TMJ related problems, and pain when biting or chewing. This is the most common problem associated with untreated protruding teeth. Other problems may include dryness of the mouth from not being able to close the mouth properly, which may lead to periodontitis and a more frequent occurrence of dental caries and cavities. Plaque build up may also be more severe on the teeth that protrude, and may be harder to remove. Any signs of protrusion should be looked into, even if it is not causing a problem right now.

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