Your teeth should align perfectly inside your mouth without creating crowding issues. However, when this doesn’t happen, you are suffering from malocclusion.
What is Malocclusion?
Malocclusion – a medical term for misaligned teeth – is a dental condition that gives birth to several other oral problems like underbite, overcrowding, crossbite, and overbite. Misalignment of teeth makes daily oral habits like biting, chewing, or even speaking difficult.
Apart from being a cosmetic and an oral problem, malocclusion is also known to cause digestive issues. Since your bite is severely affected, your ability to chew properly also tampers. And when you don’t chew properly, it can lead to several digestive problems.
If you consult an orthodontist on time, they can treat every kind of malocclusions.
What Are The Different Classes of Malocclusions?
Typically, there are three malocclusions – Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. After performing dental X-rays and determining the alignment of your teeth, your dentist will examine the type of malocclusion you have.
Some patients might have no symptoms, while some may experience severe pain. If you think you are suffering from one, read on to find out what class of malocclusion produces what symptoms.
Class 1 Malocclusion
One of the most common types of malocclusions, class 1, is identified when your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth. The misalignment of teeth is not severe in this class, and your bite is not affected.
The class 1 malocclusion comes in three types:
- Type 1: The teeth lean towards the tongue
- Type 2: Lower teeth lean towards the tongue, while the upper teeth stick out
- Type 3: The upper teeth lean towards the tongue and are crowded
Class 2 Malocclusion
Class 2 occurs when your upper teeth protrude from your lower teeth. This class is severe and affects your bite. Usually, class 2 malocclusion occurs when you have retrognathism – a smaller jaw.
Immediate orthodontic treatment is needed before your dental condition turns severe. But with proper care and treatment, class 2 can be treated permanently.
There are two divisions:
- Division 1: Upper teeth lean towards the lips
- Division 2: Upper central incisors stick towards the tongue
Class 3 Malocclusion
Class 3 malocclusion is a type of underbite where your lower teeth protrude from your upper teeth. Prognathism, the condition of a larger lower jaw, can be the reason behind a class 3 malocclusion.
There are three types of class 3 malocclusion:
- Type 1: Your teeth form an abnormal arch
- Type 2: The lower teeth are leaning towards the tongue
- Type 3: The upper teeth lean towards the tongue with an abnormal upper arch
What Are the Kinds of Malocclusion of Teeth?
Malocclusion is the dental term for misaligned teeth that can come in nine different types:
Overcrowding is among the most common causes of adults seeking orthodontic treatment. It is caused because of the lacking space in your mouth.
Spacing is caused due to small teeth, prolonged thumb sucking, missing teeth, and tongue thrusting. This issue occurs between two or more teeth, leading to overcrowding and impacting a child’s permanent teeth eruption process.
When your lower and upper front teeth don’t overlap, it causes an opening inside the mouth. This is called an open bite. If the open bite affects your front teeth, it’s called an anterior open bite. However, this problem can also happen on either side of your mouth.
In overjet, your top teeth protrude from your bottom teeth, resulting in chewing and speaking difficulties.
Related article Overjet Vs. Overbite: Causes, Effects & Treatments
Overlapping on lower teeth to some extent is normal, but when this takes an abnormal form, it causes overbite. Your upper front teeth may bite down on your gums, or your lower front teeth may bite the roof of your mouth.
An underbite which is also known as anterior crossbite occurs when your lower front teeth protrude far from your upper front teeth.
A crossbite can occur on either side of your jaw, front, or back teeth. When you suffer from a crossbite, your upper teeth bite inside your lower teeth.
Generally known as gapping teeth, a diastema is a dental condition in which a space occurs between two adjacent teeth. These teeth are most commonly the front two teeth.
A missing tooth, also called hypodontia, is caused by improper teeth development or a trauma.
What Causes Malocclusions?
Most of the time, malocclusions are inherited. This generational passed-on dental condition can also be caused due to habits that can change the jaw structure and shape. One of the most common causes is little to no room for teeth eruption. Other causes of malocclusion are:
- Thumb sucking
- Prolonged pacifier usage
- Cleft palate and lips
- Lack of proper oral hygiene
- Trauma and injuries
- Mouth tumors
- Airway obstruction due to allergies or enlarged adenoids
- Feeding from bottle
- Impacted tooth
What Are the Symptoms of Malocclusions?
The symptoms depend on the type of malocclusion you are suffering. They range from mild to severe and include:
- Speech difficulties
- Misaligned teeth
- Chewing or biting difficulties
- Mouth breathing problems
- Biting cheeks or tongue
- Facial structure change
How to Diagnose Malocclusion?
Malocclusion can be detected with regular dental checkups. Once your child reaches the age of two, you should take them for regular dental visits twice a year. Early checkups will result in early diagnosis and save them from avoidable problems.
Once you consult your orthodontist, they will conduct further examination that includes:
- Questions about your dental and medical history
- Mouth and teeth analysis
- Jaw and teeth x-rays
- Mold creation of your teeth
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, kids who are seven years old should get regular dental checkups for early diagnosis of dental conditions.
How to Prevent Malocclusion?
Most malocclusions are hereditary and can’t be prevented. Although discouraging your child from sucking thumb and breaking their habit of bottle feeding can help to a certain extent. Moreover, malocclusion can also be caused due to lost teeth. Replacing your teeth through dental bridges or implants will be beneficial.
How to Treat Your Malocclusion?
People who find misaligned teeth cosmetically unattractive are always searching for ways to get rid of them. The lucky part is that you can treat your malocclusion with the following dental treatments:
Related article Invisalign Vs Braces – Which Is Better?
Invisalign are transparent aligners that can be removed during eating and needs to be worn for 20 to 22 hours daily. Like braces, even Invisalign straightens your smile and treats all types of malocclusions.
Orthodontic Surgery is a rare option for treating malocclusions and is done to correct inherited jaw issues or fix major unhealed jaw fractures.
Removable orthodontic devices like retainers are growing in popularity because of their convenience. They’re tailored to suit your jaw and teeth structure. Treatment duration lasts depending on your dental problem.
What to Expect When You Have Malocclusion?
The first thing you need to remember is that treating malocclusion takes time! Some have to wear braces or aligners for years, while some get treated within a shorter time span. Several factors play an important part during the malocclusion treatment:
- Teeth distance
- Problem severity
- Room available in your mouth
- Teeth, gum, and bone health
- Whether you have followed instructions carefully
How Often Do You Have to See Your Orthodontist?
Starting your treatment from an early age will benefit you by reducing treatment duration and fewer expenses. Even adults are benefitted from treatment. If you are suffering from early signs of malocclusion, book an appointment with us today for the best orthodontic care in New York (Rome, New Hartford, Watertown)!