Mal - occlusion literally means "poor closing"
or "bad bite." A bad bite can be caused by
A dental malocclusion occurs when the teeth are not
lined up properly, even though the jaws may be properly
Dental malocclusion caused by
A skeletal malocclusion occurs when the upper and lower
jaws don't line up correctly.
Your teeth are not as fixed in place as you might
think! Just as a constant breeze can cause a tree to
grow at an angle, repetitive forces on your teeth can
cause them to become "out of alignment."
- Thumbsucking can lead to an Open Bite.
- Tongue thrusting (pushing your tongue against your
teeth) can slowly, but surely, move your teeth out
- Fingernail biting, or habitually biting or chewing
on most objects, can cause worn
- Mouth breathing: Breathing primarily through your
mouth instead of your nose can dry out the tissues
of your mouth leading to swollen and irritated gums.
Also, the unnatural jaw alignment of mouth breathing
creates and imbalance that can lead to a malocclusion.
If mouth breathing is caused by blocked nasal passages,
the obstruction must be corrected as well to prevent
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Grinding Teeth (Bruxism)
Severe cases of grinding teeth
(bruxism) can also change the occlusion. Most people
who grind their teeth do so in their sleep and therefore
may be unaware of the problem.
Primary (baby) teeth that are prematurely lost due
to decay or injury sometimes necessitate the use of
a spacer to keep the surrounding teeth growing straight
until the permanent tooth erupts to replace the missing
tooth. If missing permanent teeth are not replaced with
implants, a bridge,
or a partial denture,
the adjacent teeth can "tip" into the empty
space and the opposing teeth can "super-erupt"
meaning they grow longer than is natural.
Correcting a malocclusion
Of course, more than one of the above factors may be
involved, so it is important to obtain a professional
evaluation. Left untreated, a malocclusion not only
affects the patient's appearance, it can also lead to
TMJ problems and an increased risk of decay
and gum disease.
evaluates each individual case to determine the best
course of action to prevent or cure the malocclusion.
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