The topic of today’s post is malocclusion – literally – “bad bite”.
Edward Angle, a pioneer in modern orthodontics invented the term malocclusion. Malocclusion is fairly common in the population as a whole but, fortunately, in most cases, the misalignment is so slight that it causes no issues.
When you combine multiple teeth on two arches and a jaw joint with a considerable range of motion, it is easy to see how these elements can fail to align properly. In fact, it is a wonder that they work correctly for most people – allowing them to talk, eat, and breathe without giving it a second thought.
There are many causes of malocclusion – some originating with the teeth and some originating with the jaw. Misshapen teeth, extracted teeth, impacted teeth, crowded teeth, and widely spaced teeth can impact the bite. Injury to the jaw can also cause malocclusion as well as improperly fitting restorations and other dental appliances.
Children with a normal bite can develop bite dilemmas with prolonged pacifier use, thumb sucking, or bottle drinking. In rarer cases, oral tumors can move a bite out of alignment.
The treatment for malocclusion depends on the cause. Orthodontics can move teeth into alignment to fix bite issues. Overcrowding often requires the extraction of one or more teeth. Misshapen teeth that affect the bite can often be fixed with crowns or dental bonding.
If the jawbone is significantly misshapen or misaligned, maxillofacial surgery may be necessary. Jaw surgery is a serious undertaking with significant risks and a long, painful recovery. While the jaw heals, it is secured with wires and screws. Ouch!
If your jaw hurts or you notice unusual wear to your teeth, it is vital that you are examined by a professional. Call 043 400 900 to schedule an appointment with our professional team .