Malocclusion is the medical term for when the teeth do not properly align. Misaligned teeth can be caused by many different things and can result in a long list of problems. Understanding how it happens and the potential symptoms is important when it comes to finding a solution.
Occlusion is the term for how the teeth line up with each other. In a perfect scenario, your upper teeth would just slightly overlap the lower ones. The molars should fit into each other, with the points of one fitting into the grooves of the other. When everything is as it should be, you can speak and chew easily without fear of biting your lips, tongue, or cheeks.
Malocclusion can be the result of many things. Sometimes, having different sized upper and lower jaws is passed down genetically. In other cases, the teeth are simply too large for the jawbone. If you have extra teeth, compacted teeth, missing teeth, or oddly-shaped teeth, this can all contribute to malocclusion.
Certain things can happen during life that cause a misalignment of teeth. These include:
- Childhood habits, such as sucking on the thumb and tongue thrusting
- Prolonged use of a pacifier and/or bottle
- Tumors of the jaw or mouth
- A severe injury to the jaw
- Badly done dental work, including ill-fitting braces, crowns, and fillings
Potential Symptoms of Malocclusion
There are several negative impacts that can occur as a result of misaligned teeth. Some of the most common are:
- Discomfort when chewing or speaking
- Mouth breathing
- Open bite (unable to bite food correctly)
- Unusual facial appearance
- Speech difficulty
Treatment of Malocclusion
Thankfully, there are many potential treatment options available for those with malocclusion. These treatments aim to ease the strain being placed on your jaw while also making it easier for you to access and clean your teeth. Depending on your issues, you may need braces or some other form of orthodontic treatment.
If you would like to learn more about how malocclusion can be addressed, reach out to Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin. We can create a personalized treatment plan for you. Contact us today to book an appointment and get started!