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Understanding Malocclusion of the Teeth

Malocclusion of the teeth is a severe misalignment that can lead to more severe dental conditions. This condition has also been called overbite, open bite, under-bite, cross bite, or crowded teeth.

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If teeth do not properly connect, or if they’re misaligned, they will not be able to perform the vital functions they are designed for. The best way to protect your vital functions like bone structure and digestive health, it is important to be conscious of the role the teeth play.

Occlusion can be best described as the alignment of the teeth. The optimal layout include neatly spaced teeth that are not twisted or turned in anyway. The teeth of the upper jaw neatly fold over the teeth of the lower jaw and the pointed ridges in the molars interlock perfectly with those above.

Malocclusion is the term given to deviations from this optimal form. The deviations can vary to a great degree but the point is that all misalignment and occlusion will affect dental function in some way. Proper alignment of the upper teeth keeps the cheeks and lips from being bitten, while the proper alignment of the lower teeth protects the tongue from being bitten.

1. What Causes Malocclusion?

Malocclusion is a typically inherited condition, which means that the genes of the parents will pass on the malocclusion to children.

Then there are other specific habits and conditions that can contribute to the misalignment of the teeth. These include:

–Prolonged feeding from bottles during early childhood.
— tumors of the jaw and mouth
Cleft Palate or lip
–abnormally shaped or impacted teeth.
–The use of pacifiers during infancy and before the age of 3.
–injuries that result in the misalignment of the jaw
–improper dental care that can include ill-fitting braces and defective crown, fillings or bridges.
–airway obstructions that can cause mouth breathing, like allergies adenoids etc.

2. What Are the Symptoms of a Malocclusion?

Depending on the severity of the condition, the symptoms of malocclusion can be very subtle or very pronounced. Some of these symptoms include.

— speech problems, including the development of a lisp
— discomfort when chewing or biting
— improper alignment of the teeth
— breathing through the mouth rather than the nose
— alteration in the appearance of the face
— frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue

3. Diagnosing and Classifying Malocclusion

Malocclusion is classified in different ways depending on the type of deviation and its severity. Your dentist will conduct routine dental examinations and take x rays to determine which classification your malocclusion can be.

The three categories of malocclusion include.

Class 1– the most common type of malocclusion occurs when the teeth of the upper jaw overlap the teeth of the lower jaw. The bite is comparatively normal and the the deviation is slight.

Class 2 — this category of malocclusion covers all severe overbites. This condition also has the name retrognathism (or retrognathia). Referring to the severe overbite of the upper law and overlap of the lower teeth.

Class 3 — this type of malocclusion occurs when there is a severe under-bite present. Also called prognathism, and refers to protrusion of the lower jaw, this can cause the teeth of the lower jaw to overlap those of the upper jaw.

4. How Is a Malocclusion of the Teeth Treated?

The vast majority of malocclusion conditions will require no treatment. If the malocclusion is severe enough to affect your dental function, your dentist may refer you to a qualified orthodontist. Your orthodontist will recommend any one or a combination of the following treatments.:

— reshaping, bonding, or capping of teeth
— wires or plates to stabilize the jaw bone
— braces to correct the position of the teeth
— removal of teeth to correct overcrowding
— surgery to reshape or shorten the jaw

Some of the more common conditions that can result from treatment of this type include:

— irritation of the mouth due to the presence of an appliance.
–pain and severe discomfort
–difficulty speaking and chewing after the procedure.
–increased possibility of tooth decay.

5. How Can Malocclusion Be Prevented?

Because the majority of malocclusion cases are hereditary, it is hard to prevent them. Nevertheless, parents who are aware of this condition in their bloodline should consider taking action and preventing pacifier and bottle feeding from aggravating the condition. Early detection is also an important way to begin administering adjustments in formative years while the full effects of the malocclusion have no yet been consolidated.

Early treatment of the conditions and deviations will make treatment time considerably shorter.

The costs of treatment will also be much cheaper.

Nevertheless, no matter your age, treatment for this condition has invariably improved the quality of life of the individual.

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