What is Malocclusion of Teeth: Symptoms, Causes, Types, Treatment, Prognosis, Prevention

Malocclusion of teeth is also known as a misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches when they approach each other when the jaws close. This problem can also lead to serious oral health issues if proper care is not taken in time.

What is Malocclusion of Teeth?

What is Malocclusion of Teeth?

Malocclusion of teeth is a misalignment of the teeth which may lead to some serious complications to the oral health. Edward Angle, coined the term malocclusion, as a derivative of occlusion or the manner in which opposing teeth meet (mal and occlusion meaning incorrect occlusion).

Malocclusion of teeth is also be known by other names like crowded teeth, crossbite, open bite, overbite, underbite etc. There are various causes that may lead to malocclusion of teeth. As this problem can affect oral hygiene in many ways, it is important to know the symptoms, causes, types, diagnosis, and treatments for malocclusion of teeth.

Symptoms of Malocclusion of Teeth:

Here below are some of the symptoms of malocclusion of teeth.

  • One of the commonest symptom for malocclusion of teeth is the improper alignment of the teeth
  • There may be an alteration in the appearance of the face in some people with malocclusion of teeth problem
  • There may be discomfort while chewing or biting when there is malocclusion of teeth
  • One more symptoms may be frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue.
  • Some people with malocclusion of teeth issue may have speech problems; including the development of a lisp.
  • Mouth breathing instead of breathing through nose is also a common symptom of malocclusion of teeth
  • There may be constant headaches commonly associated with malocclusion of teeth. Some may also experience numbness or pain in facial regions at times.
  • Ringing in the ears, blocking of ears, ear and throat pain may also be some symptoms of malocclusion of teeth.

Causes of Malocclusion of Teeth:

So, here below we will take a look on the causes of malocclusion of teeth.

  • The most common cause of malocclusion of teeth is the jaw is comparatively smaller than the teeth
  • Lost permanent teeth can be one cause for malocclusion of teeth
  • Habitual thumb sucking, tongue thrusting or prolonged use of feeding bottle can be another cause.
  • Some birth defects of the jaw or deformities in the oral cavity can sometimes cause malocclusion.
  • Jaw fractures are also one of the common causes of malocclusion of teeth.
  • Improper fitting dental fillings, crowns, appliances, braces etc. may also cause teeth malocclusion.
  • Tumors of mouth or jaw can lead to malocclusion of teeth.
  • Malocclusion of teeth may also cause in people who are breathing via mouth rather than nose in their childhood.

Types of Malocclusion of Teeth:

While we understand the causes and symptoms, let us know the types of malocclusion of teeth.

  • Type 1- In this type of malocclusion of teeth, the upper molars and the lower molars are properly positioned; however the teeth are crowding together. Cross bites, overlapping or rotations can also occur in severe cases of this type of malocclusion of teeth.
  • Type 2- In this type, the lower molars fit the upper molars, but are positioned towards the throat, thus drawing the chin back.
  • Type 3- The third type of malocclusion, the lower molars are far forward and do not fit in to their corresponding upper molars.

Treatments for Malocclusion of Teeth:

Knowing about diagnosis and treatments for malocclusion of teeth helps to prevent dental issues and tooth loss. Malocclusion of teeth is evaluated by a dentist who would perform some routine examinations and tests. The dentist may pull your cheek outward and may ask you to bite down so as to check how well your back teeth come together. In case there is any noticeable problem you may be referred to an orthodontist for further diagnosis and treatment. Investigations like dental X-rays, head and skull X-rays or the facial X-rays may be ordered to confirm malocclusion of teeth and presence of any related condition. Usually diagnostic models of the teeth are mostly needed to diagnose the problem of malocclusion of teeth.

Usually mild cases of malocclusion of teeth do not require treatments. However, in other cases, treatments are essential. There are various ways to treat malocclusion of teeth. Some of the most known treatments for the condition are discussed below.

  1. Using Braces and other appliances: You may require placing metal bands around some teeth, or metal, ceramic, plastic bonds etc. are attached to the surface of the teeth as a commonest treatment of malocclusion of teeth. In some cases, wires or springs apply force to the teeth. Aligners or clear braces may also be used for treating malocclusion of teeth in some patients. There are various types of braces which can be used.
  2. Removing one or more affected teeth: In case, there is the issue of overcrowding of teeth, removal of one or more teeth is one of the treatments of malocclusion of teeth.
  3. Repairing irregular or rough teeth: In some cases of malocclusion of teeth, the teeth can be repaired, like adjusted down, reshaped, capped or bonded. It is required to repair the misshapen restorations and dental appliances.
  4. Surgical treatments for malocclusion of teeth: One of the treatments for malocclusion of teeth also includes the surgery. Surgical reshaping is done to lengthen or shorten the jaw and is known as orthognatic surgery. Though this is rarely required. There may be use of wires, screws or plates for stabilizing the jaw bone while the treating procedure.

Prognosis of Malocclusion of Teeth:

Generally malocclusion of teeth can be treated. Especially in young children if the condition is detected early then the treatment may be easier and quicker. Usually treating the condition may take 2-3 years. However some conditions may only take 6 months to be corrected properly. The time depends on how much correction is required in the teeth. Usually the treatment for malocclusion of teeth works well in young kids and adolescents as their bones are soft and teeth are easier to remove or repair.

Prevention of Malocclusion of Teeth:

Preventing malocclusion of teeth can be difficult, especially when the cause is linked with genetic influence. However some of the preventive measures to prevent malocclusion of teeth caused due to other reasons include the following,

  • Parents of young kids should limit the use of bottle or pacifier in order to help reduce changes in jaw development.
  • Regular dental checkups help in identifying the jaw and teeth development and promote better oral hygiene in children. In adults, any loss of tooth must be treated with appropriate alternatives to prevent malocclusion.
  • Early detection of malocclusion of teeth may help you cut down on the severity of the treatment required to correct the issue of malocclusion of teeth at a later stage.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 27, 2018

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