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What is Malocclusion of the Teeth?

Malocclusion of the teeth refers to the misalignment of your teeth. It may cause problems such as an improper smile or flawed jawline and interfere with eating and speaking. It is also called by the names:

  • Crowded or crooked teeth
  • Overbite/underbite

The degree of malocclusion varies from person to person. The common approaches to treat malocclusion/misalignment of your teeth are braces and teeth removal.

What are the Problems Associated with Malocclusion/Misaligned Teeth?

Malocclusion or misaligned teeth need to be corrected for aesthetic reasons. A person may develop low self-esteem due to their appearance which can affect their quality of life. In addition, crooked teeth may cause tooth decay or tooth loss. People with a severe underbite or overbite may develop eating or speech problems.

What are the Different Types of Malocclusions/Misalignments of the Teeth?

Malocclusion/misalignment of the teeth is classified into three types:

Class 1 Malocclusion/Normal

In this type of malocclusion, the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. Your bite remains normal and the overlap is slight. It is the most common type of malocclusion.

Class 2 Malocclusion/Severe overbite

In this type of malocclusion, the upper teeth and jaw significantly overlap the lower jaw and teeth. This condition is characterized by a severe overbite.

Class 3 Malocclusion/Severe underbite

In this type of malocclusion, the lower jaw protrudes forward and causes the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth and jaw. This is a case of a severe underbite.

What are the Causes of Malocclusion/Misaligned Teeth?

The common causes of malocclusion/misaligned teeth include:

  • Genetics/heredity
  • Thumb sucking in early childhood
  • An injury that causes severe dental trauma
  • Prolonged bottle-feeding or frequent use of a pacifier in early childhood
  • Dental/oral tumour

What are the Symptoms of Malocclusion/Misaligned Teeth?

The common symptoms of malocclusion/misaligned teeth include:

  • Changes in facial appearance
  • Discomfort during biting or chewing
  • Biting of the tongue or inner cheeks
  • Breathing through the mouth, not the nose
  • Speech problems, such as development of a lisp

How is Malocclusion/Misaligned Teeth Diagnosed?

Your dentist/dental physician will perform a thorough dental exam. Your teeth will be examined, and dental X-rays may be performed to determine if your teeth are aligned properly.

What are the Treatment Options for Malocclusion/Misaligned Teeth?

Malocclusion/misaligned teeth can be treated through a variety of approaches which include:

  • Orthodontic treatment with braces
  • Tooth extraction, also called tooth removal to remove the extra teeth
  • Reshaping or capping the teeth
  • Dental surgery to reshape or trim the jaw

How to Prevent Malocclusion/Misalignment of the Teeth?

While genetic malocclusion/misalignment of the teeth cannot be prevented, avoiding the following habits will help prevent malocclusion/misalignment of the teeth:

  • Thumb sucking in early childhood
  • Prolonged bottle-feeding
  • Frequent use of a pacifier in early childhood

Summary

You should schedule regular periodic visits to your dentist to ensure proper dental health and early intervention for any problems.

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  • Jyothi Dental Clinic

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