What Is Dental Malocclusion?
In general, dental malocclusion is a condition that describes a misalignment in how the teeth in the top and bottom jaws fit together. When malocclusion occurs, the condition can result in a range of functional and orthodontic issues, such as crooked or crowded teeth, an overbite or crossbite, and additional concerns. Without treatment, dental malocclusion may elevate the risk of gum disease, cavities, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues, sleep disorders, and more. At ACE Dental of Taylor, our experienced general dentists routinely screen for dental malocclusion in kids and adults and recommend orthodontic treatments to help the teeth and jaws to become better aligned. For more on diagnosing or treating dental malocclusion, contact our Taylor, TX practice to schedule a dental exam.
Dental occlusion is determined by how designated teeth in the top and bottom arches meet when you bite down. Occlusion is typically observed in three classifications:
- Class I occlusion is generally considered to be "normal" and occurs when the top row of teeth overlap the bottom row in a balanced manner. The goal of orthodontics is often to move teeth into this ideal relationship.
- When teeth are in Class II occlusion, the top jaw and teeth overlap the lower teeth, resulting in a receded lower jaw and chin.
- In Class III occlusion, the chin and bottom jaw protrude, causing them to overlap the top teeth and jaw.
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Signs and Symptoms of Dental Malocclusion
Children, teenagers, and adults may all be affected by dental malocclusion, which is often identified by an overbite, crossbite, underbite, or open bite. Teeth that are misaligned, rotated, crowded, or crooked and narrow dental arches also indicate dental malocclusion. Misaligned jaws and teeth are often genetic but may also be a result of teeth grinding, thumb-sucking, or trauma. When the jaws or teeth are poorly aligned, patients may experience difficulty when eating or speaking and worn, broken, or chipped teeth. Bite conditions can also place stress on the jaw joints, contribute to sleep apnea, and make oral hygiene efforts more challenging, which can increase the risk of oral disease.
How Is Dental Malocclusion Treated?
Orthodontics is generally the ideal treatment for addressing most forms of malocclusion. These treatments may include a range of options, such as clear aligners, traditional orthodontics, or retainers. Patients who have severely crowded teeth may first require tooth extractions before moving forward with orthodontic care. At ACE Dental of Taylor, our well-trained team will use cone beam CT scans to gain an in-depth understanding of your malocclusion and plan an ideal course of treatment. We offer Invisalign orthodontic options and may collaborate with other specialists to meet your needs. In cases of severe malocclusion, a surgical solution may be recommended to align the teeth and jaws and enhance functional abilities.
Following Treatment for Malocclusion
Depending on your individual needs, treatments for dental malocclusion may take several months or years to complete, especially if orthodontics is involved. A permanent or removable retainer may be recommended to help maintain treatment outcomes once your jaws and teeth reach their ideal locations. It is important to keep up with good oral hygiene each day, both during and after your treatment. When you visit ACE Dental of Taylor for routine dental visits, we will continually evaluate your progress and oral health to help you achieve optimal results for your smile.
Insurance Coverage for Your Care
If you carry dental insurance, our business team will review your policy to determine if coverage is offered toward orthodontics or other malocclusion treatments. We want to help you get the quality care you need for a healthy, functional smile and will help you maximize your insurance benefits. To help you cover any out-of-pocket expenses, ACE Dental of Taylor is pleased to accept a range of affordable payment options, such as special healthcare financing plans.
Find Effective Care for Misaligned Teeth
Misaligned teeth and other types of dental malocclusion can impact your ability to eat and speak easily, among other oral health concerns. To treat these conditions, the dentists at ACE Dental of Taylor use advanced technology to diagnose occlusal issues and provide effective treatment solutions. If you or a family member may need orthodontics or other care, schedule a visit at our Taylor, TX office to learn how you can achieve a healthy, functional smile.