Malocclusion of Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, Types and Treatment

Malocclusion: Causes, Symptoms, Types and Treatment

What is a Malocclusion?

Malocclusion is simply a misalignment of teeth, which makes it difficult for people to perform basic functions like chewing or biting. It can affect one’s oral and digestive health if not treated. Most people experience malocclusions in some form due to genetic factors or poor oral hygiene.

Causes of Malocclusions

The difference in the sizes of the lower and upper jaws or the jaws and teeth can cause malocclusions. Additionally, childhood defects like cleft palate and lip, extended use of milk bottles, sucking of thumb and the use of a pacifier can all cause malocclusion. Moreover, people with impacted or irregular–shaped and lesser teeth can also expect malocclusions to occur.

Symptoms of Malocclusions

The symptoms of malocclusion can vary from the irregular alignment of teeth, the inability to chew properly, biting the cheeks frequently, speech problems that include lisping, change in the appearance of the face, and breathing from the mouth instead of the nose.

Classification of Malocclusions

The teeth and jaw should be in proper alignment to prevent bites on the cheek, lip, and tongue. The teeth of the upper jaw should slightly overlap the teeth of the lower jaw. If there is a misalignment, it will result in a malocclusion. Moreover, malocclusions are of three types.

  • Class 1 Malocclusion: Class 1 Malocclusion is the most common type wherein there is overcrowding or spacing between the teeth, although, the ability to bite is not disturbed.
  • Class 2 Malocclusion: Class 2 Malocclusion is also known as an overbite. This involves severe overlapping of the upper teeth and jaw.
  • Class 3 Malocclusion: This type of malocclusion takes place when the lower jaw is larger than the upper jaw, causing the teeth of the lower jaw to be more visible.

Apart from the three key types of malocclusions, there are other people too who suffer from the same which include those who have long faces or due to the likelihood of thumb sucking or tongue thrusting as well as those with small faces, whose molars have not developed.

Treatment of Malocclusions

Malocclusions can be treated with the help of braces. Panoramic x-rays, visual examinations and bite impressions of the entire mouth are taken before deciding on the suitable treatment. In case of overcrowding, an extraction may be the best way to re-align the teeth. If you have an underbite, crossbite or overbite, the orthodontic appliances available are:

  • Fixed Multibracket Braces – This is when brackets are attached to each tooth and are connected with the help of a wire. The wire is changed regularly to gradually bring the teeth into proper alignment.
  • Removable Devices – These removable braces include retainers and headgear which are the ones most opted for. Retainers hold the teeth in the right position so that the jawbone is allowed to grow properly around it.
  • Invisalign – These can be removed and are transparent that work the same way as dental braces, without affecting the way you smile. Most patients opt for Invisalign.

Remedy the situation now. Treat malocclusion in early childhood to benefit from cheaper and quicker treatment. Adults too can benefit from this, although they should expect a longer and more expensive treatment. Book an appointment with us today, if you’re looking for an orthodontic treatment.

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Dr. Satish Pai

Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence.  As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. 

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