The term malocclusion translates to mean “bad bite,” referring to the way the lower and upper jaws improperly fit together.
The majority of malocclusions are inherited although some may be acquired. Some popular inherited conditions include a cleft palate, irregular jaw shape or size, crowding or spaced teeth, atypical facial bone formations, and too few or too many teeth.
Malocclusions may be symptomless or they may produce pain from increased stress on the oral structures. Teeth may show abnormal signs of wear on the chewing surfaces or decay in areas of tight overlap. Chewing, swallowing, breathing, and speaking may also be affected.
Here are some common malocclusion examples:
Cross-bites can involve the front teeth in an anterior cross-bite or an underbite. They can also occur in the back teeth as a posterior cross-bite. A cross-bite is defined when the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth.
When a person’s upper front teeth do not overlap with their lower front teeth, they have an open-bite. This can dramatically affect a person’s options for speaking, chewing, and swallowing.
When the upper teeth vertically cover too much of the lower front teeth, there is an overbite. In some instances, the lower front teeth can uncomfortably make contact and bite into the top of the mouth.
When the front upper teeth horizontally protrude past the front lower teeth, there is an overjet. This pronounced condition greatly increases the chances of trauma occurring in those front teeth.
Offset Dental Midlines
If the middle of the lower front teeth doesn’t align with the middle of the upper front teeth, an offset dental midline is established. This misalignment can impact jaw function negatively.
When spaces are present and teeth within an arch are not all touching, food can get caught and contribute to gingival decomposition and tooth decay.
When there are too many teeth within the arch for them to straightly align, crowding is an issue. The teeth can mesh together and rotate, making adequate flossing and brushing a difficult task. This enables plaque and dental bacteria to accumulate in hard-to-reach locations.