Malocclusions — What Do You Need To Know?

Orthodontic treatment primarily focusses on remedying malocclusions. However, not many people may be aware of what this term means. The word malocclusion refers to any form of misalignment that your teeth may develop. And there are several reasons why you could be affected by this dental problem. For a good number of people, malocclusions are due to their genetics. However, you could also develop this condition steadily over a period of time because of negligent oral care or perhaps due to trauma to your mouth. Irrespective of the cause, it is important to have a malocclusion remedied by a professional orthodontist, as it will pose both cosmetic as well as health repercussions. So what are some of the things that you need to know about malocclusions?

What are the different forms of malocclusions?

In general, malocclusions will be classified into three main categories:

  1. Class 1: This is one of the minor forms of a malocclusion. The patient will have a regular bite, but their upper teeth will be jutting over their lower teeth to a degree. A class 1 malocclusion may not affect your speech and eating habits, but it can pose a challenge in maintaining good oral health.
  2. Class 2: This type of malocclusion is commonly known as an overbite, but its clinical term is retrognathism. It is distinguished by the patient developing a significant overlapping of their upper teeth over their lower ones.
  3. Class 3: Typically referred to as an underbite, a class 3 type of malocclusion is medically known as prognathism. This condition is characterised by a jutting lower jaw that steadily overlaps the patient's upper teeth.

What causes a malocclusion to develop?

As aforementioned, a couple of the primary causes of malocclusions is genetics and trauma. Nevertheless, there is a range of external factors that could instigate the development of this condition. Firstly, thumb suckers tend to be at high risk of retrognathism, as their thumb will progressively push their front teeth forward, creating an overbite. Therefore, it is advisable or parents to try to nip this behaviour in the bud so their child doesn't have to go through extensive orthodontic treatment.

Secondly, missing teeth could also promote the onset of a malocclusion. Depending on how many teeth are lost as well as their positioning, the remaining teeth could shift to fill the space, and this can lead to an array of orthodontic problems. It is best to seek tooth replacement therapy to prevent this from occurring.