Our Beaufort, SC, Orthodontist Answers – What Is Malocclusion?
Occlusion is the word used to refer to the way your teeth align. Normally, they should be straight, properly aligned, with the upper jaw just slightly overlapping the lower jaw. Malocclusion is a condition where the teeth do not align properly, which leads to issues with your bite. There are different types of malocclusion depending on the way the teeth are misaligned. Malocclusion can lead to oral health complications, cause teeth and jaw pain, shifting teeth, and facial structure changes. Our Beaufort, SC, orthodontist offers some information about this common orthodontic issue and how to treat it.
Types of Malocclusion
- Overbite: The upper jaw significantly overlaps the lower jaw, leaving a large gap in between the teeth
- Underbite: The lower jaw overlaps the upper jaw and protrudes outward, leading to a change in the shape of the face
- Crossbite: One or more teeth on one side of the jaw do not correspond to the tooth on the other side
What Causes Malocclusion?
There are some risk factors for malocclusion, but most cases are caused by genetic factors or abnormal tooth growth. Some things, such as long-term pacifier or bottle usage, or injuries to the jaw can lead to a misaligned bite. Avoiding pacifiers after the age of 3 and curbing thumb-sucking in children may help avoid orthodontic issues.
To diagnose the condition, orthodontists run a series of diagnostics, taking into account these risk factors, to determine if malocclusion is present. The orthodontist examines how the bite fits together and the position of the jaw to check the type and severity of the malocclusion.
Benefits of Early Treatment
Treating malocclusion early is important to shorten the length of treatment and ensure that treatment is the most effective, as it is easier to adjust the bite and teeth in children.
If left untreated, malocclusion can lead to speech problems, face structure changes, and difficulty chewing or biting. Malocclusion can be treated with different types of braces, Invisalign, and spacers. Oral surgery can also be used if necessary, including reshaping of the jaw bone.