An Overview of Malocclusions

Orthodontist Rancho Mission Viejo, CA

Your smile is what greets the world. It also displays an integral part of your dental health—the correct alignment of your teeth. Sadly, not everyone is born with beautiful teeth. Crooked teeth, spaces, and gaps between the teeth may be a source of self-consciousness and even embarrassment. When malocclusion—improperly aligned teeth and jaws—occurs, it can also lead to tooth decay and a number of other dental disorders. The good news is that orthodontic treatment at John Redmond Orthodontics can correct unsightly malocclusions and help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. 

What is malocclusion?

Malocclusion is a technical term which refers to teeth that aren’t lined up correctly. In malocclusion, the teeth of the upper jaw don’t align with the teeth of the lower jaw. This can include overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites. In some instances, the teeth simply grew crooked, or in others, the misalignment and crowding of the teeth occurred over a period of time. No matter why it happens, the detrimental effects to your speaking ability, eating functions, and other dental challenges, plus the cosmetic issues, can add up to a recipe for poor dental health.

Types of Malocclusion

Multiple classifications of misalignment issues exist and depend on the extent and severity of the malocclusion. There are three classifications of malocclusion.

  • Class 1 malocclusion: In this situation, the bite may be normal, while the upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth. This is the most commonly-occurring type of malocclusion.
  • Class 2 malocclusion: This situation is known as an overbite, and involves a substantial overlap between the upper jaw and teeth over the bottom jaw and teeth. The upper jaw typically juts forward.
  • Class 3 malocclusion: This situation is known as an underbite, and happens when the lower jaw and teeth overlap the upper jaw and teeth. The lower jaw typically juts forward.

Furthermore, just about any type of crowding or spacing issue, rotated or twisted teeth, or bite problem is included under the umbrella of malocclusion.

What Causes Malocclusion?

Genetics are often the most common cause of malocclusion. However, other causes include:

  • The development of impacted teeth, abnormally-shaped teeth, or lost teeth 
  • Thumb sucking or overuse of a pacifier in children
  • Having fillings or crowns that fit incorrectly
  • An injury or impact that causes misalignment of the jaw
  • A tumor of the mouth or jaw

How Is Malocclusion Treated?

Orthodontic care from John Redmond Orthodontics can be an effective treatment for a malocclusion. Orthodontic care can include getting braces, Invisalign, or other corrective procedures. Treatment can result in not just an improved smile, but can also lower the risk of gum disease and tooth decay because teeth are easier to clean and maintain. Furthermore, orthodontic treatment can take the pressure off the jaws and teeth, which if left untreated, could cause further dental damage.

It’s wise to consider orthodontic treatment if you (or your child) display any signs of malocclusion. In childhood, early treatment of malocclusion can lessen the need for expensive treatments later on. To find out more information or schedule an orthodontic consultation with an Orthodontist Rancho Mission Viejo, CA residents recommend, contact John Redmond Orthodontics without delay.