Malocclusion is classaified as misalignment of the teeth. When a person has malocclusion, they can suffer from a number of effects, including speech problems, visibly crowded teeth, or difficulties with biting, chewing, and closing the mouth. As you can imagine, this can create monumental problems over time that lead to discomfort and a decline in quality of life. Curious about how to identify the different types of malocclusion? Here’s what you need to know.
One of the most common dental issues is crowding. Our teeth naturally gravitate toward the center of our mouth from the time we’re young. As they work to fit into their preferred position, this can sometimes mean overcrowding.
That crowding can lead to bite issues, poor dental health, and a negative impact on your self-esteem as it presents a cosmetic issue. If the crowding is occurring because there is too little space in the mouth, your orthodontist may extract a tooth or create a more complex treatment plan to get teeth in place.
Overbites occur when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth. While a slight overbite is normal to a degree, a severe case can cause significant issues. With a severe overbite, a person may find that their bottom teeth cause pain to the roof of their mouth or hurt top teeth when their teeth are closed. Overbites usually require simple treatment, like clear aligners or braces, to help guide the top teeth into place.
An underbite occurs when the lower teeth are further out than the top teeth. This means that the lower jaw protrudes further than the top jaw, making your teeth misaligned. Underbites, though not as common as overbites, are one of the easier dental problems to treat in moderate cases. Using braces or aligners to better align your teeth is an option, while surgery may be necessary in severe cases.
Open bites can be a bit more complex of an issue to treat depending on the reason and the severity. Additionally, overbites can often occur with the front teeth, but you may find that your teeth do not completely close on the sides as well. Open bites often arise from jaw issues due to genetics or external factors that have misaligned the teeth over time.
The classifications of malocclusion
In addition to the various types of malocclusion, there are also different degrees of severity that are divided into classes. Class One is the least severe and occurs when the upper teeth are slightly over the lower teeth without causing significant bite problems.
Class Two is also when the top teeth protrude over the bottom teeth but plays a more significant role in your bite. When left untreated, Class Two malocclusions can worsen and lead to a greater bite issue.
And lastly, Class Three malocclusions occur when the bottom teeth protrude further than the upper teeth. This class can often see more severe dental problems as the underbite may require dramatic orthodontic intervention.
The bottom line
While malocclusion is a common dental problem, it can occur in varying forms and degrees. It’s important to visit a qualified professional in order to design a treatment plan that addresses simple fixes and complicated changes in a safe, manageable manner.