Malocclusion is dental deformity that specifically refers to the misalignment of a person’s the teeth. It refers to the way that the maxilla (upper arch of the teeth) and the mandible (lower arch of the teeth) fit together.

Most malocclusions are hereditary (which means passed from generation to another) while some are caused by poor oral practices and other factors developed from childhood years. If you have a malocclusion yourself, or if a family member has it, it is important for to research it so you understand your personal risks, and your risks of passing it onto your loved ones. Your research should include: its classifications, diagnosis and treatment.

Malocclusion can be classified into three types:

  1. Class I malocclusion – the alignment of the teeth is normal; however, overcrowding and spacing with the other teeth is present
  2. Class II malocclusion – the upper teeth overlaps the lower teeth; also called overbite
  3. Class III malocclusion – the lower teeth overlaps the upper teeth; also called underbite

Diagnostic Examinations

Malocclusions are often diagnosed through routine oral examinations and panoramic dental x-rays.

However, there are other dental problems which could not be seen through dental x-rays (for example, an impacted tooth), and that’s why an i-CAT scan, one of the many diagnostic advancements, can be used. i-CAT scan is an example of dental technology trends that uses a cross-sectional view, or even 3D imaging, to see the structures inside of the mouth. Using this diagnostic tool, the bone structures of the mouth, bone density, tissues, and nerves can be viewed distinctly.

These images help in planning what course of treatment to implement in the case of malocclusion.

Treatment

If the malocclusion is caused by overcrowded teeth, dental extraction is typically performed to create adequate space for the realignment of teeth. Most malocclusions are treated using dental braces. The different types of dental braces are:

  • Fixed multi-bracket braces – these are consisting of brackets cemented to each tooth and an archwire that connects the brackets to one-another. These type of braces require a regular dental visit in order to adjust the movement of teeth, and to change the wires that track the teeth for cleaning and in order to align them properly.
  • Removable devices – these are non-fixed dental braces which treats malocclusion. These includes: retainers, headgears and palate expanders.
  • Invisalign – these are dental aligners that are invisible to the eye and can be removed. Invisalign isn’t as effective as fixed metal braces, but can be used for less-extreme cases and can appear more cosmetically pleasing.

Malocclusions are treated to reduce the risk of tooth decay, to improve oral health, and overall appearance. Furthermore, treatment of malocclusions reduces the risk of developing temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) syndrome.

Don’t feel like you have to live with deformed teeth. Overbite, underbite, and overcrowding—be gone! Set up an appointment for your Oakbrook Dentist today so that we can start treating your malocclusion. Let us give you the confidence that comes from a straight and healthy smile.