What is Malocclusion of the Teeth? – Winter Springs Florida

Potential orthodontic patients who are doing their research on braces and orthodontic issues may come across the term “malocclusion.” Malocclusion describes misalignment between the upper and lower rows of teeth. As a result, malocclusion typically causes patients to experience bite issues that create an unusual – and potentially hazardous – distribution of pressure on certain teeth. It’s important for individuals to understand what malocclusion is, what risks it may pose to those who experience it, and how it can be fixed for optimal orthodontic benefits.

Dental Malocclusion

The term malocclusion was first used by Edward Angle, who is commonly referred to as the “father of modern orthodontics.” This term was coined based off of the term “occlusion,” which discusses the manner in which an individual’s opposing teeth meet. While the term may sound ominous, malocclusion is a fairly common orthodontic issue. Fortunately, malocclusion is rarely so severe that it requires surgical treatment. However, any degree of malocclusion should be assessed by a qualified orthodontist to determine if and when treatment is recommended, as well as the optimal method for doing so.

Classifying Malocclusion

The primary classification system for identifying malocclusion is the method developed by Edward Angle. Angle classified the condition using three main classes. The classes primarily address the teeth that are involved, and the degree of abnormality of these teeth in comparison to the ideal smile. Patients should schedule an orthodontic consultation to receive a proper diagnosis of the class of malocclusion.

Malocclusion Classes

Class I malocclusion is also called neutrocclusion. Neutrocclusion occurs when the molars, or back teeth, have a healthy relationship, but the other teeth experience issues like crowding and spacing. Class II malocclusion is called distocclusion, or overjet. Overjet describes misalignment between the upper first molar and lower first molar, as well as unusual relationships between other teeth. Class III malocclusion, or mesiocclusion, is also called negative overjet. This is typically seen when a patient’s lower front teeth are more prominent than the upper front teeth.

Treating Malocclusion

Braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment are the most common methods for correcting malocclusion. However, severe cases may require tooth extraction or orthodontic surgery of the jaw. When children experience malocclusion, they may be recommended to receive braces, followed by growth modification to ensure a healthy continued development.

Malocclusion Surgery

Malocclusion surgery may involve surgical shortening or lengthening of the jaw in order to better facilitate the teeth. This is referred to as orthognathic surgery. During procedures such as this, plates, wires, and screws may be used to secure the patient’s jaw bone. This is similar to how jaw fractures may be surgically stabilized in order to promote healing and proper development.

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