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Malocclusion: Causes and Diagnosis

Malocclusion is typically seen as a cosmetic issue rather than a health one. Even if it is not harmful, you may dislike the sight of your crooked teeth. However, if your teeth are overcrowded, with little room between the surfaces, you are more likely to develop dental decay or lose a tooth as explained by a New Bern dentist. In severe circumstances, malocclusion impairs your ability to eat and communicate.

Malocclusion can be defined by having a/an:

  • Overbite — Your top front teeth stick out significantly past your lower teeth. 
  • Open bite — Your front teeth don’t meet when you close your jaw as far as you can. ‌
  • Crossbite — Your top teeth fit behind your bottom teeth. 
  • Underbite — Your lower teeth stick out over your upper teeth.

What is an Ideal Occlusion?

Both arches are regular, with teeth at optimal inclinations and near each other at dental contact locations. The lower tooth (except the central incisor) should make contact with both the equivalent upper tooth and the tooth in front of it. The upper arch overlaps slightly with the lower arch. When the upper and lower teeth make contact with each other, the jaw bones and joints are properly positioned, and movement is unrestrained.

What are The Common Causes of Malocclusion?

Dental malocclusion is typically a hereditary disorder passed down from generation to generation; however, it can also emerge as a result of specific diseases or behaviors that cause changes in the form and structure of the jaw. A typical cause is too much or too little space to erupt, which causes the teeth to wander out of place. Other significant causes of dental malocclusion are:

  • Mouth tumors
  • Bottle feeding
  • Tooth impaction
  • Lack of oral care
  • Airway obstructed by enlarged adenoids or allergies
  • Thumb sucking

How is Malocclusion Diagnosed?

Malocclusion is often diagnosed based on a thorough history and physical examination of your mouth. Your dentist will most likely recommend you to an orthodontist for a full assessment and treatment. The following tests can also be performed to assist examine the problem:

  • X-rays: a diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of your child’s mouth and teeth on film
  • Impressions of the teeth: Plaster models of the mouth can assist examine the malocclusion.

Your orthodontist will determine whether orthodontic treatment is appropriate for you and will propose the next stages. Many malocclusions require evaluation and treatment since they might affect your bite, gum tissue, jaw joint, speech development, and appearance.