Malocclusion is a dental term that refers to an incorrect bite. This can be caused by various factors, including overcrowding of teeth, misaligned teeth, or a jaw that is not properly aligned. Malocclusion can affect your oral health in many ways, including causing tooth decay, gum disease, and even TMJ disorder. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types and classes of malocclusion, as well as how they can affect your oral health. We hope that this information will help you better understand malocclusion and how to treat it!
What is Malocclusion?
The term “malocclusion” literally translates to “bad bite”. In the simplest terms, this means that your teeth are not aligned properly. This can occur due to a variety of reasons, but the most common cause is overcrowding of teeth (when there are too many for their available space). Malocclusion can also be caused by misaligned jaws or crooked teeth. There are four main types of malocclusion:
A crossbite occurs when one or more of your teeth are positioned behind the teeth in the opposite jaw. This can cause tooth decay and gum disease, as well as crooked teeth.
An open bite is a condition in which there is a space between your upper and lower front teeth. This can cause difficulty chewing and speaking, and may also lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
An overbite occurs when the upper teeth overlap with those in the lower jaw. This can cause a number of problems, including an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease as well as speech difficulties due to shifting dental alignment (which may require braces).
An underbite is a condition in which the lower teeth overlap with those in the upper jaw. This can cause difficulty chewing and speaking, as well as an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease due to shifting dental alignment (which may require braces).
When malocclusion is identified, it is categorized by both its kind and degree. There are three degrees of severity for malocclusions, including:
- Class 1: when your upper and lower molars are in a good position, but other teeth are either too close or too far from one another. This is the most common type of malocclusion.
- Class 2: when you have a severe overbite that causes your upper teeth to significantly overlap your lower teeth. Can be the result of a small lower jaw.
- Class 3: when you have a severe underbite that causes your lower teeth to overlap your upper teeth. Can be the result of a large lower jaw.
How Malocclusion Affects Oral Health
All of these types of malocclusion can have serious consequences on your oral health. The most common issues caused by malocclusion are tooth decay and gum disease. This is because an incorrect bite can lead to difficulty chewing, which in turn causes food particles to become lodged between teeth where they are not easily removed by normal brushing and flossing. Over time, this buildup of bacteria can cause tooth decay or gum disease.
In addition, misaligned teeth can lead to TMJ disorder – a condition that affects the joints in your jaw and can cause pain, clicking, or popping sounds when you open your mouth. This is because the muscles and joints required for chewing have to work harder when the bite is not properly aligned. Over time, this excess strain can cause jaw joint dysfunction.
Malocclusion can also affect your appearance. Misaligned teeth or jaw positions that lead to overbites or underbites may cause your face and/or side profile to look different, which can impact self-esteem and quality of life. However, this depends on the extent and type of malocclusion.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, it is important to see a dentist for an evaluation. There are a variety of treatments available, depending on the type and severity of your malocclusion. For more information, please contact Glow Dental in Manhattan!
Dr. Alina Huang has been practicing dentistry in Manhattan for the last eight years. She was born in New York City, and raised in California where she received her Bachelor’s degree at UCLA, and her D.D.S. at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She then made her return to NYC where she completed her General Practice Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and has been working in private practice ever since. She continues her learning by attending courses to stay current with the latest advancements in dentistry and refine her skills.