Malocclusion is a term that means “poor bite,” and it can refer to a number of problems with the alignment of your teeth. It’s often hereditary, meaning you are born with crooked teeth, or something could have caused a malocclusion to occur, like a traumatic injury, a tooth extraction, or even previous orthodontic work. You can even cause a malocclusion with excessive thumb sucking as a child!
There are several types of malocclusions. You may have heard terms like overbite, underbite, crossbite, or open bite. Essentially, any kind of crowding or spacing issues, crooked or twisted teeth, or issues with your bite falls under the umbrella of malocclusion.
Most of the time, malocclusion is treated for aesthetic purposes. It may not look picture perfect, but it is rarely a serious concern. However, in some cases, it is necessary to correct a patient’s bite to make sure they are able to eat and speak properly.
The most common treatment is with orthodontics. Braces and other appliances are used to gradually shift the teeth into a better formation. In some extreme cases, a tooth may need to be removed in preparation for orthodontic treatment. In others, it is possible that surgery will be needed to correct the problem. These two options are rare, and are only used if there is no other option to correct the problem.
Sometimes dental work will cause a malocclusion. It is difficult to gauge the difference a filling or a crown might make in how your teeth come together. What is nearly impossible to see with the naked eye can easily be felt as your teeth come together in a new and uncomfortable fashion. A high bite can cause malocclusion, as can over-adjusting a restoration. If you feel as though you have a bite problem after dental work, be sure to let your dentist know. It could be a much simpler solution than a full orthodontic treatment plan.
If you are worried that you or your child might be suffering with a malocclusion, make an appointment with us today. After an evaluation, a customized treatment plan can be created to help make your smile straight and remove any trace of malocclusion.