What are bite plates?
A bite plate is a piece of equipment used in orthodontic treatments to correct overbites (when a child’s upper teeth overlap too much with their lower teeth). They are also sometimes used to treat grinding or clenching of the teeth while sleeping.
How do bite plates work?
A small acrylic plate is clipped onto the upper teeth with metal clasps. It prevents the rear teeth from touching when the mouth is closed so they can continue to grow. The front teeth have to be used for chewing and gradually adjust to come closer together.
Bite plates may be fixed or removable. Removable bite plates must be worn 24 hours a day and only removed for cleaning, otherwise the teeth can move so much that the bite plate no longer fits.
A bite plate may cause soreness and difficulty eating and speaking at first, but this should only last a few days. It’s essential to ensure that your child sticks to the orthodontist’s instructions to ensure that the bite plate works as quickly as possible. Normally, bite plates are only needed for a short period (a few months) at the start of an orthodontic treatment plan.
Why get a bite plate?
So why should you correct an overbite, anyway?
While it can help boost confidence in children who are self-conscious about the way their teeth looks, it’s not purely an aesthetic matter.
With a deep overbite, the lower incisors (front teeth) can come into constant contact with the upper gums, which may cause gum recession and damage to the roots of the upper teeth. As you can imagine, those are painful and expensive problems!
Along with the other elements on an orthodontic treatment plan, the bite plate will help with good overall jaw and teeth alignment. This is important because crooked teeth can be hard to keep clean, meaning more risk of tooth decay and gum disease – ouch! And misaligned jaws can make chewing less effective, putting unnecessary strain on the jaw bones and muscles.
Using a bite plate to correct an overbite can help your child avoid a slew of potential problems and enjoy good dental health for life!