The term malocclusion refers to the poor alignment of teeth or an incorrect fit of the upper and lower sets of teeth. Most people have malocclusion to some degree. It is thought to be the result of several factors, like poor diet, genetics and poor oral hygiene.
Moderate to severe malocclusions requires treatment by a dentist. The most severe cases might require the services of a specialist called an orthodontist. This is a dentist who primarily focuses on dealing with teeth and jaw alignment issues, as well as many other facial problems.
Different classifications for a malocclusion
There are three main types of malocclusion. These are:
1. Class I: This the most common type of malocclusion. It usually leads to gaps in a person's smile and space between teeth.
2. Class II: This is the type of alignment issue that leads to an overbite. It is caused by the anterior teeth protruding further than they should or the central teeth overlapping their lateral counterparts.
3. Class III: This type of malocclusion leads to what is commonly known as an underbite. It is the result of the lower teeth protruding further than the upper set of teeth. This can be the result of the maxillary bone being too short or the jawbone being too large.
Why a malocclusion should be treated
Severe teeth alignment issues can alter a person's appearance. That can lead to self-esteem issues that can hamper the patient's personal and professional life. Yet, many of these issues can be treated with orthodontic devices or surgical procedure.
Here are other reasons dealing with a malocclusion improves the patient's dental health:
Lower risk of decay
Teeth alignment issues create an unusual bite pattern. This can wear down teeth and make them more prone to decay.
Improves dental hygiene
Alignment issues often lead to crooked and crowded teeth, which makes it harder to brush or floss. This makes it more likely that plaque and tartar build up on teeth surfaces.
Lower risk of temporomandibular joint disorders
The temporomandibular joints are hinges that connect the lower jaw to the rest of the skull. Poor teeth alignment puts a great deal of stress on them. This can wear them down over time, leading to a variety of serious dental issues.
Popular ways to treat teeth alignment issues
These are the most common way to deal with teeth alignment issues. Traditional braces consist of two parts: metal brackets that are placed on each of the patient's teeth and wires that connect all the brackets on each arch. Tightening the metal wires exerts a force on the person's teeth, slowly pushing them into the proper alignment.
Clear aligners are popular in orthodontics. These can be used to fix a malocclusion without others even noticing the device. The patient wears a series of aligners, each pushing their teeth closer to the desired position.
If you are dealing with teeth alignment issues, talk to one of our dentists and find out which treatments are best for you.
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