Occlusion is the term used to describe how the upper and lower teeth align and fit together. In a healthy mouth, the upper teeth fit just over the lower teeth. When the teeth don’t align as they should, it is called malocclusion, or a bad bite. There are different classes of malocclusion, all of which can lead to orthodontic problems and dental issues for your child. If you are concerned and wondering, “when should my child visit a pediatric dentist?” for possible malocclusion, we can help. Our doctor explains malocclusion and how it can be treated below.
What Causes Malocclusion?
Malocclusion is usually caused by genetic factors. Hereditary markers can cause your jaw or teeth to grow abnormally in size or shape. However, it can also be caused by excessive thumb sucking, extra teeth, missing teeth, or jaw injury. Symptoms of malocclusion include mouth breathing, difficulty chewing and biting, speech difficulties, and jaw pain. Your child should visit our pediatric dentist if they are experiencing any symptoms of malocclusion so it can be treated early!
Classes of Malocclusion
There are 3 classes of malocclusion that define the type and severity of the misalignment.
Class 1 is the most common — the bite is normal, but the upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth.
Class 2 is also referred to as overbite, where the upper jaw and teeth overlap the bottom jaw and teeth.
Class 3 is known as underbite, where the lower jaw protrudes, causing the lower jaw and teeth to stick out, overlapping the upper jaw and teeth.
If malocclusion is not treated, it can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and other problems.
Treatments for Malocclusion
It’s critical to realign the teeth and jaws to restore proper occlusion and correct any abnormalities in facial appearance. Treatment options include:
- Traditional metal braces, which are effective for all levels of malocclusion
- Invisalign®, which is a great discreet option for mild to moderate cases
- Removal of extra teeth
- Replacing missing teeth
- Repairing damaged teeth or restorations
In severe cases, jaw surgery or stabilization may be necessary to correct malocclusion. If this is the case for you, our orthodontist will discuss this option during your appointment.
When Should Your Child Visit a Pediatric Dentist? Contact Us Today!
The information provided in this article is not meant to be medical advice and is for educational purposes only. If you would like to learn more about braces, Invisalign, or other orthodontia-related topics from our orthodontist, feel free to contact Burleson Orthodontics by calling 816.759.0123.