Malocclusion is a dental condition where your teeth and bite are misaligned. More often than not the conditions are simply referred to as misaligned or crooked teeth.
Although you may not realize it, there are actually many different types of malocclusion out there. The differences between them can be quite big, and if you know what they are you should be able to easily recognize them when you see them.
Some of the most common types of malocclusion are:
By far the most common type of malocclusion and the main reason many adults need braces is overcrowding. As the name suggests this type of malocclusion takes place when there is insufficient space for the teeth to grow out, and as a result they end up growing crooked or overlapping with other teeth.
To treat overcrowding it is sometimes necessary to remove some teeth in order to create space before realigning them with braces.
It may surprise you to know this but the truth is that overbites are very common, it’s just that in most cases they are mild and do not need to be treated. However in cases where the overbite’s upper front teeth actually contact the lower gums it can cause issues and will need to be corrected.
Aside from re-aligning the teeth using braces and tooth extraction, some extreme cases of overbite may require surgery to be rectified.
In some ways a crossbite is a type of underbite, just it can happen on either side of the jaw as opposed to just the front teeth. A slight crossbite isn’t an issue, but if it is severe and other issues start to develop it will need to be addressed.
Just as with an overbite the most common type of treatment are braces and tooth extraction, but surgery may sometimes be required in extreme cases.
- Spaced teeth
As indicated by its name, spaced teeth really just mean that there are gaps between two (or more) teeth. If it is just two teeth (and more often than not, the upper front teeth) it is referred to as diastema.
To be honest there are many potential causes of spaced teeth including a large mouth structure, small-sized teeth, missing teeth, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting. Technically treatment isn’t necessary in most cases unless other issues develop, but many people opt to use braces to straighten them for aesthetic reasons.
- Impacted teeth
Normally a tooth is ‘impacted’ when there isn’t enough room for it in your mouth and as a result it is unable to break through. In many cases a tooth is ‘partially impacted’ – meaning that it has broken through but only part of it can surface. If left untreated impacted teeth can increase the risk of cavities and infection, as well as end up crowding other teeth.
The treatment for impacted teeth vary, but in some cases they may need to be extracted or exposed and then corrected using braces.
Make no mistake aside from the 5 types of malocclusion listed above there are many others such as underbites, overjets, missing teeth, open bites, and so on. Despite being less common, if you suspect your alignment is off for any reason you should still make an appointment with orthodontics Bristol.
It should be noted that even in minor cases of malocclusion that don’t technically need to be corrected – there are benefits to fixing the alignment. If nothing else you’ll end up feeling a whole lot more confident in your smile if your teeth are perfectly straight, and that counts for a lot.