Everything You Need to Know About Malocclusion and Its Treatment
Who wouldn’t like to see a straight set of pearly whites staring back from the mirror? Unfortunately, the reality is the opposite for many due to dental issues like malocclusion. Wait, what is that? Let’s see.
Malocclusion – What’s That?
It may sound like a scary and complicated condition but malocclusion is the clinical term that dentists and orthodontists use for misaligned teeth.
Normally, the upper front sits slightly forward of the lower front teeth when the mouth is closed. This is called the perfect bite. However, if you have malocclusion, your bite and teeth alignment won’t be perfect.
In mild cases, malocclusion can just be a cosmetic issue; however, severe conditions can cause serious health problems. These include tooth decay or loss, speech difficulty, inability to chew properly to name a few.
What Causes Malocclusion?
In most cases, malocclusion of teeth is a genetic condition that is passed from the parents to the kids. The most common cause is when there is too little or too much space in the jaw. The former causes crowded or crooked teeth and the latter causes the teeth to grow out of their places.
Other reasons include habits like extreme teeth or pacifier sucking as an infant, injury, or trauma.
Symptoms of Malocclusions
– Misalignment of teeth
– Breathing through the mouth
– Changes in speech and appearance of the face
– Discomfort of pain while eating
– Biting of tongue or inner cheeks
The symptoms may be mild or severe based on the type of malocclusion.
Types of Malocclusions
Different types of malocclusion include:
This occurs when there is a lack of space in the mouth and the teeth overlap over each other or grow crooked.
Caused by misalignment of the jaw, underbite is where the lower front teeth extend further than the upper front teeth.
It is normal for the upper front teeth to overlap the lower front teeth by a certain degree. However, overbite occurs when the overlap is more than normal and the upper teeth touch the lower gums.
This is a horizontal misalignment where the teeth protrude diagonally against the lower teeth.
Crossbite occurs when the upper teeth fit inside the lower bottom teeth. It can be seen on one or both sides of the jaw.
As the name suggests, spacing occurs when there are open spaces between teeth when the mouth is closed.
- Missing tooth
Improper development of teeth, accident, injury, or trauma can result in missing tooth/teeth.
Common Treatments for Malocclusion
Braces treatment is the oldest and most trusted malocclusion treatment. Braces help in straightening the teeth and bring them back to the right position. In some cases, teeth may be extracted before putting on the braces.
You can choose between metal, lingual, or ceramic braces. The duration of the treatment depends upon the severity of the malocclusion of your teeth.
- Removable appliances
Removable appliances like retainers and headgears are getting popular as an option oftreatment for malocclusion due to the ease and convenience of using them.
Retainers are crucial after Invisalign or braces treatment as they help in maintaining the alignment.
A recent development in the space of orthodontic care, Invisalign consists of a set of customized, clear trays that can easily be popped onto the teeth. Each tray exerts mild pressure on the teeth and jaw leading to proper alignment.
The best part is they are removable and practically invisible allowing you to be discreet. You must wear Invisalign for the recommended time of 20-22 hours a day to get the best results.
Fix Them Straight!
There’s a common misconception that malocclusion can be treated only in teens and kids. You can seek orthodontic treatment for malocclusion even as an adult. Consult an orthodontist immediately to start your treatment. It’s time to make the dream of straight teeth a reality!