What Does Malocclusion Mean?Thursday, January 23rd, 2014, 8:14 pm
Healthcare professionals, including dentists, often throw around words that most people don’t really know the meaning of. Let’s talk about malocclusion, a term that is often used but many don’t realize that it simply means “poor bite”.
There are many different types of malocclusion but they all mean that the teeth don’t fit together correctly. A normal bite means that the upper teeth are slightly forward of the lower teeth when the teeth are closed together. The type of malocclusion is classified by exactly how the upper and lower teeth are aligned.
- Open bite. This means that the molars fit together but the upper and lower front teeth don’t overlap.
- Overbite. When a person has an overbite, the upper front teeth are too far over the lower front teeth. In severe cases the lower teeth can even bite into the roof of the mouth.
- Underbite. The lower front teeth are forward of the upper front teeth.
- Crossbite. A crossbite occurs when some, or all, of the upper teeth fit into the wrong side of the lower teeth.
- Upper protusion. This is often called “buck” teeth. The upper front teeth are pushed outward.
Problems that occur because of malocclusion
These are only a few of the different types of malocclusion that may occur. Patients with malocclusion problems, especially children, should be treated as soon as possible. A poor bite can lead to higher rates of tooth decay and gum disease because crooked or crowded teeth are more difficult to clean.
Problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are frequently seen in patients with a poor bite. Symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include headache, jaw pain, facial pain, clicking in the jaw and neck pain. Correcting the bite so that the jaw is in the proper position will relieve this pain and prevent further damage to the jaw joint.
Please contact Dr. Joseph Wilbanks in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation. A straight, healthy smile is only a phone call away.