When you think about perfect teeth, what words come to mind? Pearly white, properly aligned, healthy. These are attributes that most people want for their teeth. Unfortunately, many adults and children live with a condition called malocclusion that prevents them from having the perfect smile they desire. Malocclusion is a common condition that affects how the upper and lower teeth meet. In this blog post we will define malocclusion and discuss its effect on your oral health.
What Is Malocclusion?
Malocclusion is a term used by dentists and orthodontists to describe the relationship between the upper and lower teeth. In a perfect bite, the back of your top front teeth aligns with the bottom molars so that they meet evenly or “occlude” each other. If this doesn’t happen, you may have malocclusion.
Malocclusions can be grouped into three types: overbite, underbite, and crossbite.
An overbite is characterized by the top teeth extending beyond the bottom.
An underbite is characterized by having an over-projecting lower jaw which causes a bulldog appearance.
A crossbite is when one or more teeth of the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth on either the front or back side.
Malocclusion is also classified for diagnostic purposes. The three classifications of malocclusion include:
Class I: When your upper and lower molars are aligned, but other teeth are either too close or too far from one another.
Class II: When there is a severe overbite that causes your upper teeth to protrude and overlap your lower teeth.
Class III: When there is a severe underbite that causes your lower teeth to overlap and protrude in front of the upper teeth.
How Does Malocclusion Affect Your Oral Health?
Malocclusion can affect your oral health in various ways, depending on the type and severity. One way malocclusion affects your oral health is by causing tooth sensitivity. Malocclusion can cause your upper and lower molars to grind against one another, which may damage or wear away enamel. When the enamel is worn, it makes your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks.
In addition, the worn enamel caused by malocclusion can lead to decay on the teeth. This is because it is much easier for bacteria to erode through enamel that is already worn down. Excess bacteria can also accumulate in the hard to reach places on overlapping teeth. This can cause gum disease, cavities, and other oral health problems.
Another way malocclusion affects your oral health is by causing TMJ problems. The increased jaw stress that is often associated with malocclusion can cause pain in the jaw, headaches, and other issues. This can also affect your chewing and biting ability in some cases.
If you are living with malocclusion, don’t worry. There are many treatment options available to correct the condition, as well as various treatments to address the complications caused by malocclusion. Empire Dental can help you find the right solution for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!
Dr. Admar holds dual certificates — a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2010 from India and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2014 from Canada. He is now a full time practicing dentist in Kamloops where he provides a variety of services, including emergency dentistry. Dr. Admar spends hundreds of hours in continued dental education to stay up to date in cosmetic and implant dentistry and he has achieved several advanced qualifications.