If your bite is off or your teeth are mis-aligned, they aren’t able to perform the vital functions they are designed for. What does that mean? It could mean that crowded teeth or an underbite or overbite can make it difficult for you to chew your food properly, may result in speech problems, create a need to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose and even alter the appearance of your face.
Some Basic Terminology:
Occlusion is the term used to refer to the alignment of your teeth. Ideally, they should fit easily within your mouth without crowding. Occlusion is sometimes called your “bite.”
Malocclusion is the term for the mis-alignment of your teeth or the imperfect positioning of your teeth when your jaw is closed.
Why is this important?
• Alignment of your upper teeth is necessary to prevent you from biting your lips and cheeks.
• Alignment of your lower teeth is necessary to prevent you from biting your tongue.
• Malocclusion is an alignment problem but it can also lead to serious oral health complications.
Malocclusions are usually inherited, however, some habits or conditions that could change the structure and shape of the jaw are:
• Cleft lip or palate
• An injury to the jaw
• Missing or abnormally shaped teeth
• Prolonged bottle feeding
• Prolonged pacifier use
• Prolonged thumb sucking
Mild malocclusions do not usually require treatment. Severe malocclusions should be treated to prevent progression to TMJ (Temporomandibular Jaw) disorders. Malocclusions can be treated with oral surgery in combination with orthodontic treatments. Teeth may be removed to correct overcrowding; the jaw may be reshaped with wires placed to stabilize the jaw bone; patients may be fitted with braces to help achieve their perfect “bite.”
Early detection is key in determining the type of and length of malocclusion treatment – the earlier the treatment, the better the outcome. Because of the hereditary nature of most malocclusions, prevention is difficult.
If you have a malocclusion concern either for yourself or a member of your family, call for a consultation appointment at StarWhite Dental, today: 951-698-4426.