What is Malocclusion?

Have you ever wondered why our ancestors used to have fewer bite or tooth alignment problems than us? Today, one in every five individuals has some form of problem with the alignment of their teeth, according to the Science Daily. Misalignment of the teeth – or malocclusion – is not just a cosmetic issue; if not corrected, it can lead to serious oral health and medical complications. 

So, what is malocclusion, and how it can be treated?

Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about tooth malocclusion. 

What is Malocclusion?

Malocclusion is a Latin word meaning “bad bite”. According to the World Dental Federation (FDI), malocclusion is a condition that refers to the irregular positioning of the teeth or the misalignment of the upper and lower arches. Malocclusion can cause not only issues with proper chewing but also facial alterations. But thanks to contemporary orthodontics, dentists can now treat even the most complex forms of malocclusions by using a variety of treatment options. 

What Causes Malocclusion?

A misalignment of the teeth or the jaws can occur due to a variety of reasons:

  1. Mismatch Between Jaw and Teeth Size – our ancestors used to have more spaces in their mouths, offering plenty of space for the teeth to erupt in optimal alignment. However, with the change in our lifestyle and genetics, our jaws have shrunken considerably; leaving less room for the teeth and causing crowding and misalignment. As a result, more people are now suffering from tooth misalignment problems these days. 
  2. Parafunctional Habits – habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting – if they persist beyond childhood can cause improper tooth alignment, especially of the front teeth. 
  3. Premature Tooth Loss – if a tooth is lost prematurely, the neighboring teeth tend to take up its place, leading to crowding in some places and excessive spacing in others. 

How is Malocclusion Treated?

Management of malocclusion involves treatment of the underlying cause. If the problem is detected during the early years, then orthodontists may be able to treat the problem by utilizing the puberty growth spurt in children with functional appliances. In other instances, orthodontists use metal braces or Invisalign aligners to fix problems that involve the misalignment of teeth. In case there is an improper alignment or positioning of the jaws, orthodontists may have to rely on surgical interventions to correct the underlying issues.

Regular visits to your dentist help diagnose orthodontic problems at an early stage. Even if you’re an adult, it’s never too late. Visit your orthodontist today to discuss the best solution for your orthodontic problems.

Our Board Certified Orthodontist, Dr Jianjun Hao, has treated hundreds of patients for malocclusion and given them the smiles of their dreams. Bood a free consultation or second opinion with Dr. Hao.

We offer FREE ORTHODONTIC CONSULTATIONS. Schedule today at 773-481-2200.