Did you know that if you need orthodontic treatment you have a malocclusion? "Occlusion" is a term that is used to refer to the alignment of your teeth and the prefix "mal" means "bad" or "incorrect". Therefore, malocclusion is the medical term for a misaligned teeth or the "imperfect positioning of the teeth when the jaws are closed" according to Google Dictionary. Orthodontics is often seen as cosmetic and unnecessary, but fixing the alignment of teeth is actually more medically necessary than one might think.
Very few people are gifted with perfect teeth at birth. Malocclusions are most often caused by genetics. However, habits like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and nail biting have can impact tooth alignment over time. There are four main types of malocclusions which we list below.
Front Teeth Protrusion
This type of misaligned teeth happens when the upper two front teeth jet out too far over the bottom teeth. This could cause abnormal wear on the teeth and possibly lead to TMJ problems with the jaw.
This form of malocclusion is when your upper teeth cross over your bottom teeth when you bite down. A cross bite causes jaw misalignment and irregular wear of the teeth. You could even break a tooth due to the misalignment!
An openbite occurs when the top teeth do not sit on the bottom teeth when the jaw is closed. Besides tongue thrusting and speech impediments, open bites hinder proper chewing because the upper and lower front teeth don’t overlap. This type of maloclussion is often caused by thumb sucking and pacifier use.
In an overbite, the upper front teeth extend out over the lower ones. While many people have top teeth that extend over their bottom teeth slightly, it is ideal for them to not be too far over. Occasionally, an overbite is so severe that the lower teeth can bite into the roof of the mouth!
Fixing a Malocclusion
In addition to the common malocclusions listed above, there are other orthodontic problems that can develop. It is important to have your jaw and tooth alignment checked by a doctor to ensure that any issues are found and that they will not evolve into more complicated problems. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that kids first see an orthodontic specialist at age seven for an exam but it is never too late!
Luckily for you, Dr. Aimee Skelton and the Skelton Orthodontics team specialize in fixing all types of malocclusions! We offer unique treatment plans tailed specifically for you. After coming in to the office for a complimentary consultation, Dr. Skelton will create your plan and get you started on the path to a healthier (and straighter) smile. Call us or fill out our online appointment request form to get started!