When visiting your orthodontist, there are more than likely going to be terms and medical words that you may not be familiar with. Let’s talk about a common one that we hear new patients ask us about. Malocclusion.
As a dental term, the word “occlusion” refers to the alignment of your teeth. So, it makes sense that “MAL-occlusion” would refer to the MIS-alignment of your teeth. In a perfect world, your teeth would fit perfectly inside your mouth. There wouldn’t be any crowding or spacing concerns and none of them would be rotated or twisted. But that just isn’t realistic for the majority of people. Malocclusion may be a scary word, but it’s very, very common and most likely no cause for concern.
Types of Malocclusion
There are several different types of Malocclusion. Some patients may have just one and others may have a combo of two or more. Some common misalignment of teeth may be referred to as the following:
- Crowded teeth
- Open bite
Common Malocclusion Causes
In most cases, malocclusion is caused by genetics. There are some other common causes that include:
- Prolonged pacifier use, bottle use, or thumb-sucking
- Tooth loss caused by decay or injury/trauma
- Cleft lip or palate
- Tumors in the mouth
- Impacted tooth
- Poor oral hygiene
Symptoms of Malocclusion
The most common way to know if you have malocclusion is visible tooth crowding or crooked teeth. Difficultly chewing your food or even some speech problems can be caused by malocclusion. Here are some other signs you may have a malocclusion.
- Changes in your facial appearance
- Frequently biting your inner cheeks or tongue
- Discomfort when biting down or chewing
- Sudden speech changes
- Feeling you have to breathe through your mouth rather than your nose
Depending on the kind of malocclusion, there are many different treatment paths. Luckily for most patients, braces or other simple orthodontic appliances are easy solutions. Dr. Lauren Olson will be able to diagnose a malocclusion during a simple consultation and give you a detailed explanation of the best treatment plan for your individual needs. Call us today if you think that you may have a malocclusion! We’re happy to get you (and your teeth) on the right track.