What Is Malocclusion?

Do you have misaligned teeth? Feeling insecure about your looks because of it? You don’t have to!

Believe it or not, only 35 percent of adults have perfect teeth. In fact, most people have malocclusion (also known as “poor bite”) to some extent. This condition can manifest as a cross bite, under bite, open bite, or overbite.

But adults aren’t the only people with teeth that aren’t aligned properly. Malocclusion is extremely common in teenagers too. About 80.2 percent of girls and 78.4 percent of boys have this issue. And children often suffer from malocclusion too.

But no matter your age, it’s not too late to improve your smile. Due to the advances in dentistry, getting your teeth fixed is now easier than ever before. And the sooner you start treatment, the better the results.

cute little girl smiling with slightly misaligned teeth

Malocclusion at a Glance

Malocclusion causes crooked teeth. Even though this problem doesn’t require immediate treatment, it can affect your confidence and self-esteem. Misaligned teeth can keep you from smiling and lead to a poor body image, which definitely affects quality of life.

This condition can be more or less severe. If left untreated, it may lead to one or more of the following issues:

  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Crossbite
  • Open bite
  • Underbite
  • Protrusion of anterior teeth
  • Spacing between two or more teeth
  • Impacted tooth
  • Missing tooth
  • Diastema

In severe cases, it can even put you at risk for temporomandibular jaw syndrome (TMJ), tooth decay, and tooth erosion. Most times, however, it’s a cosmetic issue.

Causes and Risk Factors

Here’s what experts know:

  • Genetics influence our facial skeletal characteristics, including teeth alignment. Researchers believe that malocclusion is the result of genetic factors, environmental factors, or both.
  • This condition is often hereditary and present at birth. If your parents or siblings have misaligned teeth, you’re more likely to experience this issue.
  • Certain lifestyle factors, such as tongue thrusting, thumb sucking, and mouth injuries, play a role too. It’s also not unusual to develop abnormal bite patterns after having a car accident that causes tooth loss.
  • Other risk factors for a poor bite include abnormally shaped teeth, pacifier use beyond age 3, and tumors of the mouth. Poorly placed braces, crowns, and dental feelings may affect teeth alignment too.
Treatment Options

Depending on the severity of your condition, several treatments are available. A skilled dentist can correct your jaw and tooth alignment through orthodontic treatment. During the initial consultation, he will look at your teeth and recommend X-rays if necessary.

Most people with misaligned teeth require dental braces or clear aligners. In some cases, however, tooth extraction may be required. In general, treatment takes about two years or longer, especially for adults.

If you have a jaw problem, the dentist might recommend surgery so that a surgeon can lengthen or shorten the jaw to reshape it and restore your smile.

Final Thoughts

Even though malocclusion isn’t debilitating, it can cause emotional and physical discomfort. In severe cases, it can lead to chewing or speaking difficulties, mouth irritation, and tooth decay too. And, unfortunately, since this problem is often hereditary, prevention can be difficult.

The best treatment is typically orthodontics because orthodontic treatment has a high success rate. Even adults get good results, so it’s never too late.

If you’re looking for an experienced orthodontist, contact us today. We are committed to using the latest technologies and techniques to keep our clients’ teeth healthy and their smiles beautiful.