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Malocclusions, what are they and how do we treat them

There are plenty of quotes on how important a smile is to a person’s appearance. How it can change the direction of a conversation and turn business meetings around to favour you and even help you choose or find your soulmate. It comes as no surprise then that many people are very concerned about their smile. A concern which becomes even more serious when people are born with a malocclusion.

A malocclusion is when your teeth are not properly aligned and do not connect properly with each other. The result is a set of teeth that are not ordered correctly. Types of malocclusions include over/under/cross bites, rotated or transposed teeth and spacing or crowing problems. In fact, there are three classes of malocclusions. Class I would include rotation and overcrowding among other problems. Class II include a drawn chin or an overbite where the jaw is pulled back towards the throat. Class III malocclusions are when patients have a jawline that protrudes from the rest of the face, creating an underbite.

Here’s an interesting fact, the term “Malocclusion” was first coined by Edward Angle, the “Father of Modern Orthodontics”

Why do we suffer from these problems? There are a few reasons including evolutionary traits and even sucking on a pacifier or thumb as an infant. Undue pressure on the teeth of a child can cause them to grow in incorrect directions and lead to malocclusions later in life. Sometimes, physical trauma or injuries can cause malocclusions after a while. In some other cases, a patient’s teeth may just be growing in a crowded or spaced out manner. In rare cases, poor dental work can be a cause of malocclusions.

The symptoms of malocclusions vary from the usual difficulty in chewing or biting making eating a challenge. Other symptoms comprise of speech problems or developing a lisp and even breathing problems where a patient may find it easier to breath through their mouths rather than their noses due to malocclusions.

There have been treatments for malocclusions for a very long time, however modern treatments revolve around three main types. Tooth extraction, braces or clear aligners. In more serious cases, the need for surgery might arise. In situations where the jaw of a person needs to be adjusted, a maxillofacial surgeon is called upon. The most common treatment is the use of braces and wires that force a patients’ teeth to realign to a more appropriate alignment. However, there is a great amount of discomfort in having your teeth pushed and pulled into submission. Not to mention having a metallic smile over the period of the treatment. It is not the most pleasant experience. Clear aligners have a bit more success in helping realign teeth without too much force and since they are clear, they are nearly invisible to others. Some aligners are 3D printed using a 3D map of a patient’s mouth and teeth.

If you or someone you know has problems with their teeth not being properly aligned, then they can visit GMCClinic’s dental department where expert dentists working with state of the art technology and a dedicated team can help diagnose and treat malocclusions.