Malocclusion refers to a bite that is off. When the teeth grow in, they may come in crooked, twisted, or even overlapping other teeth. This results in problems with the bite that often needs to be corrected because of the problems it can cause.
Causes of Misalignment
There are several reasons why teeth may be misaligned, but most of them are inherited. One reason is that the mouth is too small to accommodate the teeth and they become crowded. This causes some to have to shift to the side. They may even slide behind other teeth.
Another cause is that the jaws do not meet properly. This is the result of one jaw being larger than the other, causing an overbite or an underbite.
Losing baby teeth too early is another cause. When this happens, the existing teeth may shift toward the empty space and not leave enough room for the new tooth to come in properly.
Other problems may include an injury to the jaw, thumb sucking, using a pacifier or bottle too long, a tumor in the mouth, dental restorations not completed correctly, and more.
Symptoms of Misalignment
When your teeth are not aligned properly, there will often be some symptoms, especially when the alignment is more severe. Symptoms may include:
- Jaw pain (TMD)
- Dental work failing
- Sensitive teeth
Why Malocclusion Can Be a Problem
When teeth do not meet correctly, it can cause several problems. Chewing is going to be more difficult and it may place a greater strain on the jaw joint, leading to ongoing pain. It will also make it harder to clean the teeth, making it more likely that the individual will develop gum disease. People that have this problem are also apt to be more self-conscious because it may distort the face and jaw. In more extreme cases, it may even cause speech problems.
The treatment for the misalignment of the teeth or jaw is going to focus on correcting the alignment. There are several ways to correct the bite, which may include:
- Removing overcrowding by taking out teeth
- Correcting irregular teeth or repairing damaged teeth
- Surgical intervention that may include reshaping the jaw.
The best time to make corrections for a misalignment of teeth or the jaw is when the child is still young. At this age, the bones are still soft and the teeth can be moved into place more easily and the jaw corrected if necessary. The corrective process may take from six months to two years or longer.
Several habits can promote the development of a misalignment. By eliminating these habits, it will permit the teeth and jaw to develop more correctly, but inherited genes may also prevent it. Habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting can lead to misalignment of the teeth or jaw.
Global Family Dental can help you or your child with malocclusion problems. After an evaluation, our friendly dentists will provide a recommended course of action. Call today and let us answer your questions or to set up an appointment.