Teeth malocclusion is a misalignment issue that can result to significant oral health issues. The teeth could not perform its vital functions if misaligned.
Generally, the teeth must easily fit inside the mouth without any layout or crowding issues. The teeth should not be twisted or rotated as well. The teeth in the upper jaw must somewhat overlap the teeth of the lower jaw. This ensures that the pointy edges of the molars appropriately fix into the indentations of the opposite molars.
Once there are deviations, it is called malocclusion. The form of deviation tends to vary but any type of misalignment can lead to issues. Take note that proper alignment of the teeth is essential to avert the lips and cheeks from being bit while placement of the lower teeth is required to shield the tongue.
What are the causes?
Malocclusion is considered as a hereditary condition. It can be passed down from one generation to the next. Some of the habits or conditions that can alter the structure and shape of the jaw include:
- Cleft lip and palate
- Injuries that cause jaw misalignment
- Frequent use of a pacifier after the age of 3
- Thumb sucking during early childhood
- Bottle feeding during early childhood
- Unusually shaped or crowded teeth
- Tumors in the jaw or mouth
- Airway obstruction due to allergies or enlarged tonsils or adenoids
- Poor dental upkeep that results to poorly fitting crowns, dental fillings or braces
What are the indications of malocclusion?
Depending on the type of malocclusion, the indications might be subtle or severe. The usual indications include the following:
- Incorrect teeth alignment
- Discomfort when biting or chewing
- Alteration in the appearance of the face
- Breathing via the mouth instead of the nose
- Speech issues including development of a lisp
- Frequent biting of the tongue or inner cheeks
In most cases of mild malocclusion, treatment is not required. Nevertheless, a severe case might require seeing an orthodontist. Depending on the type of malocclusion, the orthodontist might suggest various treatments such as:
- Braces to correct teeth positioning
- Wires or plates to stabilize the jaw bone
- Removal of the teeth to fix overcrowding
- Surgery to reshape or shorten the jaw
- Reshaping, bonding or capping of the teeth