One of the special features of our dentition is dental occlusion, which refers to both the relationship between all of our teeth and the way the upper and lower jaws fit together when we close our mouths. Dental malocclusion is what we call the phenomenon where there is an abnormality in the teeth alignment or the relationship between the arches. This condition can have many consequences.
Characteristics of Dental Malocclusion
Heredity and genetics are the main culprits of malocclusion, but certain habits or predispositions are sometimes to blame, such as missing teeth or extended use of the bottle or pacifier in the baby. That said, it is often simply due to a jaw that is too small compared to the teeth.
There are three types of malocclusion based on the alignment of the teeth. They are characterized by teeth that are too close together or too far apart, an overjet or an overbite. Therefore, the symptoms of malocclusion depend on the category and severity of the problem. Among these is difficulty chewing, breathing or articulating sounds. Since uneven teeth are less easy to clean, they are also more likely to develop tartar, cavities or disease. Finally, they often cause a lack of self-confidence in patients.
How Can We Correct the Problem?
Dental malocclusion can sometimes be identified with the naked eye when unusual spacing, overlapping or positioning can be noticed, but x-rays are essential to determine the best course of treatment.
Orthodontic appliances like braces or dental aligners can treat this condition. Braces include brackets with adjustable wires and elastics that allow the teeth to gradually regain normal occlusion. Although they are especially popular with children, there is no right age to wear them: They are also much more discreet than before! People who are afraid of braces sometimes prefer invisible aligners, which reposition teeth in just a few months.
When the condition is severe, sometimes orthognathous surgery is necessary. During this procedure, the orthodontist restores alignment by repositioning the mandible and maxilla. Wisdom teeth often need to be extracted during this process.