A malocclusion happens when mismatched teeth and the jaw cause a person to have a bad bite. This can result in crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth, and may even lead to gum problems/periodontal disease, severe headaches and head pain, and sleep apnea.
Most of us know someone who has had some degree of malocclusion; perhaps a child, niece or nephew, or friend. By some estimates, roughly two out of three adult Americans are born with some degree of malocclusion.
Where Does the Term Come From?
The root word of “malocclusion” is “occlusion,” which just means the meeting of your teeth. It is the actual contact between the teeth in your upper jaw and those in your lower jaw.
Malocclusion happens when mismatched teeth and jaws cause a person to have a bad bite. The results of Malocclusion may be crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth, gum problems, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (commonly known as TMJ), severe headaches, and sleep disorders. It can affect a person’s appearance, speech and/or ability to eat.
There are many types of malocclusion, some of which have familiar-sounding names: Overbite, underbite, crossbite, and so on.
Causes and Treatments of Malocclusion
Causes. Malocclusion is often present at birth and can manifest as space between the teeth, irregular jaw or mouth size, or even a cleft palate. It can also be acquired from habits such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, premature loss of teeth from an accident or dental disease, or medical conditions such as enlarged tonsils and adenoids that lead to mouth breathing.
Diagnosis. Malocclusion may be symptom-less or can cause pain from increased stress on the teeth or jaw. It is most often found during a routine dental examination. When malocclusion is suspected, photographs and X-rays of the face and mouth are taken to confirm the presence.
Treatment. THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® is one of the few dental offices in Southern California that can treat malocclusion. While braces and aligners such as Invisalign can treat the problem, we use dental technology and a therapy known as TruDenta pain management to find and treat dental bite forces.
Whether inherited or self-induced, it’s good to be aware of how your occlusion – and that of your loved ones – lines up, so to speak. If you have any questions or concerns about occlusion, malocclusion, or overbites, feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment.
ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently situated with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we offer most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental rebuilding, sleep apnea, and TMJ/ Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.