Orthodontic Malocclusions

WHAT IS A MALOCCLUSION?

Few people have perfectly symmetrical teeth and a perfect bite. A malocclusion is a problem in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together in biting or chewing. The word malocclusion literally means "bad bite." The condition may also be referred to as an irregular bite, crossbite, or overbite.

CAUSES OF MALOCCLUSIONS

Most malocclusions are caused by hereditary factors. The most common cause of malocclusion is a disproportion in size between the jaw and teeth, or between the upper and lower jaws. For example, a child who inherits a mother's small jaw and a father's large teeth may have teeth that are too big for the jaw, causing overcrowding.

Examples of Inherited Malocclusions:

  • Too much space between teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Various irregularities in the teeth, jaw, or face

Examples of Acquired Malocclusions:

  • Accidents such as a jaw fracture that causes misalignment
  • Prolonged sucking on thumbs, fingers, or pacifiers, particularly after the age of four
  • Fingernail or lip biting
  • A lost tooth that causes nearby teeth to move into the empty space, throwing them out of alignment
  • Airways that are obstructed by tonsils or adenoids
  • Dental disease
  • Tumors in the mouth or jaw
  • Improperly fitted fillings, crowns, or braces
  • Premature loss of baby teeth or permanent teeth
  • Late loss of baby teeth

TYPES OF MALOCCLUSIONS

Michael Kasso DDS, MSD
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Livermore, CA 94550
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