Malocclusion is the incorrect alignment of the teeth when the jaws are closed. They are so common that most individuals experience at least one to some degree. Malocclusion is considered to be caused by genetic factors combined with poor oral habits.
There are three main classifications of malocclusion:
Class I: The teeth close normally but there are problems such as spacing or crowding.
Class II: Overbite – the upper teeth are positioned farther forward than the lower teeth.
Class III: Underbite – the lower teeth are positioned farther forward than the upper teeth.
Reasons to treat malocclusion
Reduce risk of tooth decay: Malocclusion can cause uneven wear on the teeth which can lead to tooth erosion and decay.
Better oral hygiene: When malocclusion is caused by crowding, it can be difficult to clean the teeth and gums effectively. It is much easier to clean straight teeth.
Reduced risk of TMJ – It is believed that TMJ (temporomandibular jaw syndrome) is caused by malocclusion. Facial pains, headaches, and teeth grinding result from excessive pressure on the temporomandibular joint and can be relieved by realigning the teeth.
Treatment for malocclusion
A malocclusion is usually treated with braces. After a thorough visual exam and an evaluation of panoramic X-rays and bite impressions, a treatment plan will be determined. Fixed dental braces, Invisalign aligners, retainers, palate expanders, and headgear are some of the available appliances used to treat malocclusion. In some cases of overcrowding, an extraction may be the best option to create enough space to realign the teeth. In extreme cases, an orthodontist may work in combination with a maxillofacial surgeon to reconstruct the jaw.
Dr Yash performs some orthodontic procedures and will refer his patients to an orthodontist when needed. If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontics, please call or contact our office.