Malocclusion is the imperfect positioning of teeth when jaws are closed. It is a condition in which misalignment of teeth resulting in the improper fitting of upper and lower jaw when talking or chewing. Proper alignment of teeth makes the chewing more effective and distributes the chewing forces equally. If these forces are distributed unequally makes teeth to fracture and finally tooth loss occur.
Causes of malocclusion
- Abnormal jaw and teeth size: One of the major reason for malocclusion is abnormal jaw size. Another reason for malocclusion is abnormal tooth size. If the tooth size is large than the jaw size, overcrowding of teeth takes place and too small teeth leads to gaps between the teeth.
- Impacted teeth: Wisdom teeth becomes impacted when there is no space to come out from the gum. This impacted tooth creates pressure on adjacent teeth and makes them to rotate leads to misalignment of teeth.
- Missing teeth: Tooth loss creates gap between the teeth. This gap makes the adjacent teeth to shift their position and teeth become crooked.
- Birth defects: Birth defects such as cleft lip or palate or birth defects in the jaw causes malocclusion. Fractures or injury causes misalignment of jaw causes malocclusion.
- Bad oral habits: Bad oral habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrushing causes malocclusion. Thumb sucking and tongue thrushing pushes their thumb or tongue against upper front teeth and teeth become protrude and causes malocclusion
- Mouth breathing: Mouth breathing makes the tongue to position at the inside of the upper front teeth makes the teeth to protrude causes malocclusion
- Tumours in mouth: Tumours in mouth is due to smoking or chewing tobacco. This is also one of the causes for malocclusion.
Symptoms of malocclusion
- Misalignment of teeth and jaw fit together
- Abnormalities in the facial appearance
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Discomfort in talking but it can be seen rarely
- Taking breath through mouth
Treatment for malocclusion
Treatment for malocclusion is needed to improve appearance and also improve biting and chewing ability. Malocclusion can be treated with non surgical procedures if the misalignment is mild.
Application of orthodontic braces to the teeth pulls the teeth gradually to the normal position. Extraction of tooth means removal of one or more teeth to realign the teeth.
If the above treatments are not effective in treating malocclusion, orthognathic surgery is performed to correct the abnormalities in jaw.