Malocclusion, otherwise known as misaligned teeth, is most usually a hereditary problem, passed down through families. In general, it refers to the way teeth line up against each other, top to bottom, and the way the upper and lower jaw fit together when the mouth is closed. At Kitchener East Family Dental we treat a wide variety of patients with malocclusion successfully, from young children to older adults.
Reasons for Malocclusion
When the misalignment is hereditary, it's generally caused by a difference in sizes between the upper and lower jaws, causing a misaligned jaw. This can cause abnormal bite patterns or even crowded jaws without enough room for all the teeth to erupt in. Other causes of malocclusion are:
- Habits in early childhood like using a bottle after the age of three, thumb sucking, using a pacifier for an extended time, or tongue thrusting
- Badly-fitted crowns, dental fillings, braces, or retainers
- Tumors of the jaw and mouth
- Impacted teeth, extra teeth, or lost teeth
A misaligned bite can cause severe pain, or it can be completely painless. Our dentist usually finds signs of it during a routine dental examination. When it's suspected, we'll take x-rays and photographs of the mouth and face to study. In order to make a definite diagnosis, we'll take an impression of the patient's bite using plaster or other materials. There are two malocclusion classes, and the dentist will determine which one you have by studying the bite impression. Class one is the most common, with a normal bite but upper front teeth that slightly overlap the lower teeth. In class 2, the upper teeth and jaw severely overlap the bottom ones.
Once you're diagnosed, malocclusion treatment is done by an orthodontist who specializes in this type of treatment. One or more teeth may need to be removed if the problem is caused by crowded teeth. In almost all cases, braces are the common treatment, sometimes with Invisalign clear aligners instead of traditional wire braces.
Modern Dentistry to Create a More Uniform Bite
Our experienced dental team is dedicated to giving you the best in healthy smiles. Call Kitchener East Famly Dental’s office at (519) 578-2419 to schedule an appointment today!