Malocclusion or ‘poor bite’ is a condition caused due to the misalignment of the teeth, i.e. the upper and the lower teeth do not line up properly. Normally, the upper teeth are aligned slightly over the lower teeth and the tips of the molars fit into the grooves of the opposite molars. The upper teeth prevent the biting of cheeks and lips while the lower teeth protect the tongue. In people with malocclusion, there is a disturbance in this alignment.
Some of the malocclusions are minor which do not need any repair. However, in most of the cases, a correction is necessary to preserve the vital functions of the teeth and protect the overall oral health.
There are three main categories of malocclusion:
The common symptoms presented by people with malocclusion include:
Malocclusion is usually inherited. The other causes for malocclusion include:
The dentist can identify the malocclusion through a routine dental examination. Physical examination may include examining the teeth, pulling the cheeks outwards and checking for certain defects during biting. Sometimes the dentist may order for dental, facial, head or skull x-ray to determine the type and severity of malocclusion.
Treatment is usually provided in several stages and depends on the type and severity of malocclusion.
Most of the cases of malocclusion are treated with braces. These are usually effective when used during childhood or early adolescence because the jaws are in the developmental stage during this age. However, it is possible to correct the malocclusions even in adults by a well-trained orthodontist. A retainer may be necessary along with braces to stabilize the teeth.
Treatment of malocclusion can lead to the following complications:
In addition to the treatment, some of the self-care measures which are required to maintain dental hygiene:
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