What to do about malocclusion to reverse the negative effects
Malocclusion involves more than being afraid to smile in front of the camera. Crowded and crooked teeth can also cause serious oral health complications that will require extensive procedures to fix. This is why it is important to fix the problems early through braces, or you can try invisalign treatments that can give you a straight smile without the hassle of wire braces. If you want to learn more about malocclusion and the negative health effects, then continue reading.
In a normal situation, a patient’s teeth will fit easily in the mouth with plenty of gum and tissue space for them to grow naturally. The teeth of the upper jaw should also fit just slightly over the teeth of the lower jaw, so the patient’s molars can align, and this is known as occlusion.
However, due to genetics or bad habits, some people have twisted teeth and overcrowding that can lead to a number of health problems. It can also result in an overbite or underbite in which the bottom and top teeth do not align.
These instances, including anything else that deviates from traditional occlusion, are known as malocclusion. It can often result in improper teeth alignment, frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue, speech problems, breathing through the mouth instead of the nose, alterations in facial appearance and discomfort when chewing or biting.
Causes of malocclusion
Crooked and crowded teeth can be caused by many issues. They include:
● Poor dental or orthodontic care
● Bad habits as a child such as frequent use of a pacifier or thumb sucking after age three
● Abnormally shaped or impacted teeth
● Tumors in the mouth
The causes can vary, but some people are more prone to malocclusion than others. Typically, diagnosis of malocclusion is not difficult and can be done either through simply looking at the mouth or doing several X-rays. If it is caught early, it can be treated easily.
Negative health effects
Unfortunately, malocclusion can be more severe than a lisp or altered appearance. It can come with a number of health implications that require repair. Here are some of the most common health issues that result from moderate to severe malocclusion:
TMJ: This acronym refers to the temporomandibular joints in the jaw. When a patient has malocclusion, it can create pressure on the teeth and jaw muscles, causing TMJ disorder. This is characterized by chronic facial pain, jaw pain, headaches or earaches. This condition is very difficult to treat and cure completely.
Tooth decay: Crooked and misaligned teeth can also mean that there are more places for cavities to form. It is more difficult to get into the cracks and crevices of teeth to remove food and bacteria, so this allows for the more frequent formation of cavities.
Weakened teeth: Crooked and misaligned teeth can also affect the strength of enamel and physical makeup of teeth. This means they are more likely to break, crack or fall out prematurely. In some cases, the malocclusion can be so severe that it can result in a patient needing dentures at a very early age.
Sore cheeks and gum infections: For those with an improper bite, it can lead to sore cheeks and gum infections. It makes it easier to accidentally bite the cheek and tongue or scrape the gums. Over time, this can lead to serious infections.
Treatments for malocclusion
The most effective and cost sensitive solutions are invisalign treatments or braces. These treatments will force the teeth back into place over a period of several months or years and significantly reduce or eliminate the negative effects of malocclusion. For best results, start the treatment early, but it can be successful for patients of all ages. It may simply take longer and be more difficult to change.
There may be a need to remove, reshape, bond or cap teeth in order to make room for the upcoming changes. Surgery may also be required in order to shorten the jaw and stabilize the bone. In cases where malocclusion has caused the teeth and jaw bone to weaken, wires or plates may be used to stabilize the bone. Overall, it is best for malocclusion to be caught at an early age in order to prevent more problems from appearing.