The word “occlusion” refers to your bite and how your teeth fit together. Normally, your top teeth should slightly overlap your bottom teeth. When your bite does not align correctly, you have a malocclusion. This problem can be resolved by your dentist.
A bite can become misaligned by several things early in life. One common cause is that there may be overcrowding because of too many teeth in a small jaw. This will cause some teeth to spread to the side and no longer be aligned. Other causes may include an injury to the jaw, the use of pacifiers, thumb-sucking, the loss of teeth, genetics, tumors, or congenital problems.
Symptoms of Misalignment
When the teeth do not align correctly in a bite, it can result in several problems. They may include:
- Difficulty when chewing
- An abnormal appearance
- Mouth breathing
- Accidentally biting the cheeks or tongue
- Pain when eating
- Speech problems
Getting a Diagnosis
In the dentist’s office, the dentist will look at the condition of your teeth. Most likely, problems with malocclusionwill be evident. An x-ray will also likely be taken. This will result in a classification of the problem, with three different levels.
After a diagnosis has been given, treatment can be started. The treatment plan will take into consideration several things, including tooth position, the health of your teeth and gums, and your facial appearance. The treatment may be performed by the same dentist or you may be referred to a specialist – depending on the problem and its severity.
More than one treatment may be necessary, which may mean that they are performed in stages. Treatment may include:
- Braces– these will be used to correct the alignment of the teeth. In some cases, they may be all that is needed to correct the problem.
- Extraction of teeth– this step will be taken in cases of overcrowding. It may also be conducted before getting braces so that the teeth can be moved into their correct position.
- Reshaping of teeth– this can be done in several ways. It may involve capping or bonding teeth. Missing teeth may need to be restored.
- Surgery– this technique may be necessary to shorten the jaw or to reshape it.
- Stabilize the jaw – wires or plates may be used to ensure proper movement.
This type of treatment is better when it is given to children. This is because the jaw is still growing and this will shorten the healing time – and the overall cost.
When the teeth are not aligned correctly, it can easily result in other dental problems. This is because it is harder to keep the teeth clean, which may mean the presence of cavities and gum disease. Before some treatments, both of these problems will need to be treated – especially since braces may give rise to more cavities.
The friendly specialists at Bright White Dental can diagnose and treat problems with malocclusion. We work with patients to develop the best plan and help you to overcome the pain and other problems associated with it. We treat people of all ages.