Occlusion refers to the alignment of teeth and the way that the upper and lower teeth fit together (bite). The upper teeth should fit slightly over the lower teeth. The points of the molars should fit the grooves of the opposite molar. Malocclusion is poor fit or alignment of the teeth and jaws. The term malocclusion refers to a number of possible conditions; such as crowding, gaps, overbite, underbite, rotated or twisted teeth, or overjet (buck teeth).
Although many causes of malocclusion are genetic and inherited, certain activities can contribute to it:
- Prolonged use of pacifier or bottle
- Thumb sucking
- Extra teeth, lost teeth, abnormally shaped or impacted teeth
- Trauma or injury
- Improperly fitted dental restorations or orthodontic devices
- Medical or developmental disorders of the mouth or face
Malocclusion may cause symptoms such as discomfort when chewing or biting, bruxism (teeth grinding), speech or breathing problems, abnormal/altered facial appearance, and other long-term effects that can compromise the health and integrity of teeth.
Malocclusion can be classified into two major groups: skeletal and dental. Treatment for dental malocclusion typically includes braces or orthodontic procedures, removal of on or more teeth, repair of rough or irregular teeth, or placement/replacement of dental restorations. Seeking orthodontic treatment with a focus on occlusion and appearance of the teeth is often the treatment for most cases of dental malocclusion.
Skeletal malocclusion is caused by a difference in the shape, size, and/or position of one or both jaws. For these patients, simply aligning the teeth provides little help since the jaws don’t match each other. Skeletal malocclusion is often accompanied by an incorrect facial profile. Orthodontic treatment alone is insufficient to successfully correct skeletal malocclusions when chewing function and improved facial aesthetics are involved. Orthognathic surgery (jaw surgery) on one or both jaws is usually performed to correct the position of the jaws, improve the chewing function, enhance the facial features, and reduce airway related problems.
Many types of malocclusion are not preventable, but detecting and treating the problem early allows for quicker results and more success.
Our face helps shape our identity, confidence, and ultimately our lifestyle – how we choose to FACE the world. For many of our patients, facing the world can represent a challenge, because of unhappiness with their facial profile. With a true specialty in jaw surgery, McGann Facial Design is able to employ advanced diagnostic and surgical techniques to improve facial contours. Based on our expertise and years of patient observations, these improvements in the shape of one’s face can have a profound, positive impact on how individuals feel about themselves. If you are unhappy with your facial profile, please come visit us.