An Introduction to Malocclusions

An Introduction to Malocclusions

An Introduction to Malocclusions

If you ask someone what they should do to make sure their teeth are healthy, they’ll probably tell you that you need to brush and floss regularly. Odds are that those are the only things most people will mention. That’s not all there is to healthy teeth though. The alignment of the teeth and jaw also have a role to play, though for some people it’s something that needs correcting.

Common Malocclusions

Malocclusion is the technical term for a bite where the teeth don’t line up properly. This can happen either because the alignment of the teeth themselves is off or because the alignment of the jaw is off. Common malocclusions include: 

  • Overbite – upper teeth stick out over the lower teeth
  • Underbite – lower teeth stick out past the upper teeth
  • Crossbite – lower jaw is longer than the size and length of the upper jaw
  • Open bite – top and bottom teeth don’t connect when you bite down
  • Misplaced midline bite – the center of your upper front teeth doesn’t match up with the center of your lower front teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth – the lack of space in the mouth causes teeth to crowd together

Why Treatment Matters

Malocclusions are more than just cosmetic issues, though their appearance alone is enough for some people to start exploring corrective measures. They can lead to other problems like tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, chipped and cracked teeth, uneven tooth wear, headaches, and gum disease and bone loss around the teeth. Malocclusions can even cause problems with eating, speaking, and chewing.

Corrective Measures

Having a malocclusion doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to suffer from any or all of those problems. A lot of that has to do with personal factors, including the severity of the malocclusion itself. Still, it’s never a bad idea to take corrective measures. Treatments for malocclusions include things like bridges and implants, orthodontic devices like braces and retainers, bite splint therapy, dental mouth guards, and jaw expanders. As you might expect, which treatment is best for your situation will depend on the malocclusion and its severity.

Making sure your teeth and jaw are properly lined up is important. It helps keep your teeth healthy and gives you a more beautiful smile. If you or your child have a malocclusion, whether it’s an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or another bite problem, come to us so we can help you create a plan for addressing it sooner rather than later.

Early treatment matters. Learn more about the benefits of early orthodontic treatment here.

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