You’re at the dentist and they start throwing out terms like malocclusion, orthodontics, and braces. Your head might be spinning at this point trying to figure out what they all mean for you and your oral health. Before you start to panic, it’s not as bad as it sounds!
We’ll walk you through what malocclusion of the teeth means, what causes it, and what you can do to prevent and treat it. Keep reading to find out more.
What is Malocclusion?
Malocclusion of the teeth basically means that there is teeth misalignment happening. It happens when you bite down, the teeth don’t perfectly come together and surprisingly most people’s don’t.
Malocclusions come in two types, dental and skeletal with dental being easier to correct with orthodontic procedures. Skeletal malocclusion means that the way the jaw bone grew impacts the way that the teeth are aligned. Skeletal malocclusion also happens from birth can also in some cases not be fully repairable.
What Causes Malocclusion of the Teeth?
Malocclusion of the teeth can be because of a genetic predisposition like your parents having teeth misalignment, bad childhood habits like sucking on objects for a long period of time, and a lack of calcium.
The most interesting cause of malocclusion is a result of mouth breathing. There may be an underlying ear, nose, and/or throat disease that causes constant or frequent mouth breathing and impacts the proper growth of the jaw due to constant tension.
How Do is Malocclusion Treated?
Based on what type of teeth malocclusion you have, the treatment procedure can range from using a retainer to create more jaw space to then using braces to correctly align the bite. The good news is that braces have come a long way from having a mouth full of metal and Invisalign is now an option.
Be sure to talk to your dentist to learn more about an Invisalign consultation and if it’s right for you.
In some cases, braces alone won’t work. Surgery and teeth removal may be needed if there is overcrowding or a complex skeletal issue is present. Your dentist should be able to walk you through the entire treatment process ahead of time.
How Can I Prevent Malocclusion?
If there’s already a genetic predisposition to malocclusions then unfortunately there isn’t anything preventative to do. You can try supporting proper jaw bone growth from childhood with the help of your dentist but there is no guarantee that it won’t need fixing later on in adolescence.
If there isn’t a genetic predisposition, you can start by making sure to rule out any ENT diseases if you’re a mouth breather and correct that behaviour as soon as possible. For children, avoid allowing to suck on objects like thumbs after a certain age as this will impact proper jaw placement.
Aligning Your Oral Health
Having malocclusion of the teeth isn’t the end of the world and can be corrected with a few treatment options. Speaking to your dentist is the first step in getting a diagnosis, putting together your treatment plan, and getting that perfect smile.
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