What is a Malocclusion?

A malocclusion is a form of incorrect relationship that occurs with the upper and lower arches of someone’s mouth, and can also mean something along the lines of misaligned teeth as well. Malocclusions are extremely common to the point that just about everyone has one to some degree, and it is hard to say what causes them but many people will say it is a combination of genetics and poor oral habits at early ages of life.

Orthodontists are doctors who specialize in treating all forms of malocclusions, and the following is the three most common classifications of all malocclusion irregularities that orthodontists treat:

  • Class I — This is where there are some types of spacing of crowding problems within a patient’s mouth and possibly some types of typical occlusions
  • Class II — This indicates that a patient has an overbite, and that is something that means that the upper teeth are out further than the lower teeth, and there are a number of causes for something like this to happen to a patient
  • Class III — This class is something that we call prognathism, which is another word for an underbite, which is when the lower teeth protrude further out than the upper teeth and can be actually something that is a physical ailment like a large jaw bone or a small maxillary bone and can be rather difficult to treat.

Some of the main reasons for treating a malocclusion

Sometimes when someone has some type of severe malocclusion there can be some serious side effects including an entire skeletal disharmony, and in really bad cases an orthodontist will have to reconstruct a patient’s entire jaw. Some people think that this is only something that young children can get treatment for but the truth of the matter is that it is never too late to get your malocclusion fixed and adults are getting treatment all the time and getting great smiles!

The following is a list of some of the reasons why people should seek some type of orthodontic treatment for their malocclusions:

  • Help to reduce the risk of tooth decay — when you have some type of malocclusion in your mouth it will slowly but surely wear your teeth down and leave you susceptible for tooth decay and even tooth erosion
  • Better oral hygiene — Overcrowding is a really common cause of a malocclusion, and for the most part when you have a bunch of teeth competing for space within someone’s mouth it of course is going to be much more difficult to thoroughly clean your gums and teeth as effectively as you should be able to clean them, so with clean teeth you have a much better ability to obtain better oral health.
  • Risks of TMJ are reduced — A temporomandibular jaw syndrome (TMJ) is a very serious jawbone issue that effects millions of people around the world and is many times created through a malocclusion, and by realigning your teeth you can relieve some of the pressure on your jaw and sometimes eliminate the chances of getting TMJ.

How exactly do orthodontists treat a malocclusion?

For the most part malocclusions are treated through braces, but they are also treated through a whole variety of treatments as well that really do get the job done if you the patient properly take care of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. Sometimes if the overcrowding is so sever an orthodontist will choose to simply extract the teeth out of the patient’s mouth, but for the most part the following treatments are the ways in which orthodontists will treat a malocclusion:

  • Fixed multibracket braces — This is where a bracket is cemented to each tooth and then a metal wire is connected through each bracket and tightened to allow the orthodontist to manipulate the tightening and realignment of the whole mouth.
  • Removable devices — These are dental braces that you can take out when you want to, and they include things like headgear, retainers and some other forms of non-fixed braces. Retainers are typically used after the alignment from braces takes place and holds the teeth in the proper position while the jaw grows.
  • Invisalign — This is a form of braces that are pretty much invisible to the naked eye so people can have the full effects of metal braces but can take them out and wear them when they want to wear them, so they can still have a nice smile while they are fixing their smile.