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7 Common Types of Malocclusion

Malocclusion is a term used to describe a misalignment of the teeth. It can be caused by many different factors, including genetics, injury, and poor oral hygiene. There are several different types of malocclusion, which can be diagnosed and treated by a dentist or orthodontist. In this blog post, we will discuss the 7 most common types of malocclusion. We will explain what each type is and how it is treated. We will also discuss the pros and cons of two common treatment methods: clear aligners and metal braces.

crossbite

Crossbite:

Crossbite is a type of malocclusion in which the upper teeth bite down on the wrong side (inside) of the lower teeth. Crossbites can be posterior or anterior. Posterior crossbites affect the back teeth, while anterior crossbites affect the front teeth. Crossbites can cause the lower teeth to become misaligned and can cause tooth wear.  Crossbite is treated by expanders and  braces or aligners that gradually move the teeth into their proper position.

crowding

Crowding:

Crowding is a type of malocclusion in which there is not enough space for all of the teeth. This can be caused by genetics, thumb sucking, or early loss of baby teeth. Crowded teeth are often rotated, staggered, or overlapping due to the lack of space. Crowding is treated by wearing braces or aligners that gradually move the teeth into their proper position. In some cases, tooth extractions may also be needed to free up space in the mouth.

deep bite

Deep Bite:

Deep bite is a type of malocclusion in which the upper teeth bite down too far over the lower teeth. This can cause the lower teeth to bite the gum tissue on the roof of the mouth, possibly causing gum damage. Deep bite is treated by wearing specialized dental appliances that move the bite into its proper position.

Open Bite:

open bite

Open bite is a type of malocclusion in which there is space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed. Open bites can be posterior or anterior. Posterior open bites are when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth do not touch. Anterior open bites are when the back teeth meet, but the front teeth do not touch. Open bites can be caused by thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or genetics. Open bite is treated by wearing specialized dental appliances that move the bite into its proper position. Without treatment, open bites can negatively affect swallowing and speech functions.

Protrusion:

protrusion

Protrusion is a type of malocclusion in which the front teeth and/or upper jaw are pushed forward. Teeth that protrude cause the face to look longer than normal and are sometimes referred to as “buck teeth”. Protrusion can be caused by genetics, thumb sucking, or sucking on a pacifier. Protrusion is treated by wearing braces or aligners that gradually move the teeth and bite into their proper position. Without treatment, protrusion can lead to problems such as damaged teeth, dry mouth, and open bite.

Spacing:

spacing

Spacing is a type of malocclusion in which there are spaces between the teeth. This can be caused by genetics, early loss of baby teeth, undersized teeth, and/or oversized jaws. Some spacing issues are deemed only cosmetic, while others can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Spacing is treated by wearing braces or aligners that gradually move the teeth into their proper position. In some cases, dental bonding and/or veneers may also be used on undersized teeth.

underbite

Underbite:

Underbite is a type of malocclusion in which the lower teeth bite down in front of the upper teeth. This is most commonly caused by genetics, but it can also be made worse by thumb sucking. Underbite is treated by wearing braces or aligners that gradually move the teeth and bite into their proper position.

How is Malocclusion diagnosed and treated?

Some cases of malocclusion can be diagnosed by performing a visual exam, however dental x-rays are usually taken to confirm the diagnosis. Since malocclusion can become more severe with growth, it is recommended that all children around the age of 7 be seen by a dentist or orthodontist to determine if they are at risk. Early intervention makes it easier to control facial growth and prevent malocclusion from getting worse.

Treatment options will depend on the severity of the malocclusion. In mild cases, no treatment may be necessary and the patient will be monitored. In more severe cases, braces or aligners may be recommended.

teenage girl holding up teeth model with braces and clear aligners

Braces are the most common type of malocclusion treatment. They are made of metal wires and brackets that are bonded to the teeth. The wires are tightened over time to gradually move the teeth into their proper position. Braces can be uncomfortable and take a long time to work, but they are very effective at straightening the teeth and aligning the bite.

Clear aligners are a newer type of malocclusion treatment. They are made of clear plastic and are virtually invisible when worn. Clear aligners gradually move the teeth into their proper position over time. Clear aligners are more comfortable than braces and can be removed for eating and brushing, but they may not be as effective in severe cases.

In some cases, additional orthodontic appliances may need to be used to achieve the desired results. These appliances can include headgear, expanders, and retainers, to name a few. Ultimately, your dentist or orthodontist will develop a treatment plan based on your individual case.

In Conclusion

In this blog, we discussed the seven most common types of malocclusion: crossbite, crowding, deep bite, open bite, protrusion, spacing, and underbite. We also explained how malocclusion is diagnosed and treated by a dentist or orthodontist. The two most common methods are clear aligners and metal braces. Your dentist or orthodontist will recommend the best treatment option for you based on the severity of your malocclusion. Treatment can take several months to a few years, but it is worth it to have a healthy and beautiful smile!

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