Hello! I’m Scott Anderson, DDS, of The Gentle Art of Dentistry in Houston. Thanks for visiting my dental blog. The topic of today’s post is malocclusion–literally–”bad bite.”
Malocclusion Affects Many People
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 dilemmas.
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. It’s a wonder that they work correctly for most people–allowing them to talk, eat, and breathe without giving it a second thought.
Malocclusion Has Multiple Causes
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.
Childhood Behaviors Can Cause Bite Problems
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.
Dentists Can Treat Malocclusion
The treatment for malocclusion depends on the cause. Orthodontics can move teeth into alignment to correct bite problems. 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!
Don’t Ignore Bite Problems
If your jaw hurts or you see unusual wear to your teeth, you must be examined by a professional. Call 281-469-8026 to schedule an appointment with Doctor Scott Anderson.
Our gentle dental team has been serving patients at our comfortable Houston office for many years. We can give you more specifics about malocclusion, implants cosmetic dentistry, or general dentistry.
We also advise Houston parents about vital issues such as tooth development, thumb-sucking, water fluoridation, dental sealants, oral sports protection, and orthodontia. If you suspect that you or your child has any degree of malocclusion, schedule an exam ASAP. Untreated bite problems can inhibit proper nutrition, breathing, tooth development, and speech development.