Malocclusion is a word dental professionals use when teeth do not line up properly. It is sometimes called “bad bite.” Sometimes malocclusion can be a cosmetic issue, and other times is can be both cosmetic and functional. Malocclusion can affect speech, the ability to eat comfortably, and even breathing. Most cases of malocclusion are heredity, although it can be caused by habits like thumb-sucking. Injury to the teeth or jaw can also cause malocclusion. Depending on the cause of the malocclusion, your dentist can offer restorative or cosmetic solutions to bring teeth into alignment.
How Do I Know If I Have Malocclusion?
In most cases, malocclusion will cause some discomfort or awkwardness when you eat, speak or smile. You may notice an overbite that runs in your family, or a quirk in your smile. Not every instance of malocclusion needs treatment from a dentist or orthodontist. However, it is best to get the input of a dental professional to help you decide. Malocclusion can make it hard to keep teeth properly clean. It can also lead to stress on the jaw, which may be a factor in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and problems. Your dentist can discuss malocclusion at your preventive care appointments.
What Can Be Done About Malocclusion?
Each case of malocclusion is unique, but there are a variety of way to bring the teeth and jaw back into alignment. One example that works for many teens and adults with malocculation is Invisalign invisible tooth aligners. Using a series of clear plastic trays, the teeth are gradually trained into correct postion. When treatment is completed (usually about 12 months) you will see properly positioned teeth and an attractive smile.