What Is Malocclusion?

Braces and Invisalign are both orthodontic appliances used by an orthodontist to fix malocclusion. Some fast facts about malocclusion: it is both diagnosed and treated by a medical professional, and is incredibly common (just in the United States alone, there are about 200,000 cases per year). This term started with Edward Angle, better known as the “father of modern orthodontics.”

What is malocclusion, exactly?

Malocclusion is misalignment of the upper and lower teeth when your jaw is closed. This is also known as the “incorrect” or “imperfect” relation of the dental arches as well. There are different types, or classes of malocclusion:

  • Class I: crowding/spacing/over eruption/under eruption or neutrocclusion
  • Class II: overjet/overbite or distocclusion/retrognathism
  • Class III: underbite or mesiocclusion/prognathism

More generally speaking, any kind of bite problem, crowding, or spacing is considered a kind of malocclusion.

Why should malocclusion be treated?

When your teeth are crooked, or misaligned, it can subsequently lead to much more serious oral health problems – like tooth decay or gum disease! You may also have some more “minor” problems that are associated with misaligned teeth. These problems can include: mild discomfort when eating, speech problems, such as a lisp, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, and even the alteration of your face!

How does it happen?

Believe it or not, you can actually inherit crooked teeth (thanks mom and dad!). The traits that you can inherit can be jaw size and tooth size. An example would be small teeth in a large jaw. You may also inherit traits like missing or transposed teeth. A more rare condition would be a severely underdeveloped upper or lower jaw, or a cleft palate. More minor causes range from thumb-sucking to tooth loss to impacted teeth. even having a filling or crown that does not fit correctly can cause teeth misalignment!

What are treatments for misaligned teeth?

If you have been recommended by a dental professional or believe you would benefit from orthodontic treatment, come in to see us for a complimentary consultation! Orthodontic care from Dr. Hickory will treat any kind of crooked teeth you may have. In addition to treating any kind of health issue associated with malocclusion, having a straight smile has been proven to boost confidence.