Malocclusion – what it is and why is addressing it important?
Occlusion refers to the way the teeth fit together when the jaws are closed.
A functional occlusion is where the top and bottom teeth lining up. The opposite of that, a malocclusion or bad bite it when the teeth don’t fit together by not lining up correctly.
What are the reasons for malocclusion?
- Crowding (extra teeth/not enough space)
- Crooked teeth
- Jaw bone issues
- Issues with the surrounding jaw joint
What is problematic about malocclusion?
The two primary issues dentists are concerned about with malocclusion are regarding the functionality and the aesthetics.
Malocclusion affects the functionality of your teeth by causing additional wear to the teeth or restorations (crowns or fillings), headaches and jaw pain.
Often teeth with malocclusions can be linked to aesthetic concerns such as receding gums or crooked teeth.
How is malocclusion treated?
As with many other dental issues, the treatment of malocclusion depends on each person’s circumstances. Common treatments include:
- Teeth straightening
- Teeth extraction
- Jaw surgery
- Therapeutic muscle relaxation techniques
A brief history of malocclusion treatments
Malocclusion is most commonly treated with teeth straightening. Teeth straightening techniques have a long history.
- Ancient Times
Metal arches placed to prevent collapsing of arches of the deceased.
- 18th Century:
U-shaped expanding arches were used in combination with the removal of pre molar teeth to treat overcrowding.
- 19th Century:
Modern approaches to malocclusion and orthodontics began with the development of a malocclusion classification system. Elastics, wires and banding were introduced to form ‘the braces treatment’.
There numerous orthodontic treatments available, which depends on the complexity of movements. Some of the orthodontic treatments currently offered are metal braces, lingual braces and aligner orthodontics. Aligner orthodontics has become more and more commonplace as they are combined with the latest digital technology to provide a clear road map of your orthodontic journey, as well as being a great aesthetic option.
In summary, malocclusion can have a range of functional and aesthetic consequences. Being troubled by a “bad bite” is something which can be addressed.