Malocclusion is the medical term for misaligned teeth and bite. Malocclusion types range from crooked teeth and overbites to overcrowding and crossbites. If left untreated, malocclusion of teeth can even lead to oral health problems, speech problems, sleep disorders and severe headaches. Orthodontic treatment is a safe and effective option for correcting varying classes of malocclusion.
What Causes Malocclusion of Teeth?
Generally, misaligned teeth are inherited and can be passed down in the family. However, certain habits and conditions can also induce changes in the jaw structure. These include:
- Prolonged use of pacifier after 3 years of age
- Thumb sucking
- Oral tumors
- Abnormal shape of teeth
- Poor oral care
- Impacted teeth
- Ill-fitted crowns or braces
- Improperly fitting teeth fillings
- Mouth breathing triggered by enlarged tonsils or allergies
Symptoms of Malocclusion
Depending on the different types of malocclusion, the symptoms may be subtle or severe. Usual symptoms of malocclusion of teeth include:
- Misaligned teeth
- Altered facial appearance
- Repeated biting of inner cheeks
- Discomfort when chewing food
- Speech problems
- Breathing through the mouth instead of nose
Types of Malocclusions
Malocclusion of teeth is diagnosed during a routine oral checkup and can be classified into the following types:
Overcrowded or misaligned teeth is one of the most common orthodontic problems caused by lack of space in the jaw. This inadequate space results in crooked and overlapped teeth.
- Open Bite
An open bite occurs when the front teeth don’t overlie the lower teeth. An open bite that impacts the front teeth is called an anterior open bite.
- Missing Teeth
Missing teeth occur when teeth don’t develop properly or when permanent teeth suffer accidental trauma. The clinical name of this dental condition is hypodontia.
This is space created between two adjacent teeth and it usually affects the front teeth.
- Impacted Tooth
An impacted tooth is the one that does not undergo the normal eruption process.
Spacing typically occurs between two or more than two teeth. It can be caused due to thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, small teeth or due to a missing tooth.
An overjet is when the top arch of teeth extends beyond the bottom arch horizontally, resulting in protruding teeth.
An increased overlapping of the upper front teeth on the lower front teeth results in an overbite. This can cause your upper front teeth to bite on the lower gums.
A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth bite within the lower teeth. This can happen on either or both the sides of your jaw and adversely impact your front or back teeth.
A crossbite that is affecting only the front teeth is known as an underbite.
Orthodontic Treatment Available for Malocclusion of Teeth
Malocclusion of teeth mostly affects children and teens. So, the very first line of treatment is to extract some baby teeth and create room for the permanent teeth to erupt normally. Some children may need early treatment during their growth spurts to modify the jaw. They are required to wear a device that helps shift the jaw into the right position.
Following this phase of treatment, braces are placed. Braces are designed to apply gentle pressure on the teeth and to correct the bite. Orthodontic braces are an ideal way to correct misaligned teeth and jaw problems. However, an adult with malocclusion of teeth may need dental surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.
Teeth tend to drift out of their place even after wearing braces. So, you may be recommended to wear a device called a retainer to keep the teeth from moving out of their desired position following orthodontic treatment.
At Koch Orthodontics we use the latest technology to ensure that you get the best results. Besides the traditional, metallic braces, we also use self-ligating braces and undetectable Invisalign technology to make your orthodontic treatment quick and convenient.