Hello! I’m Gordon West, DDS, of Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette. Thanks for visiting my dental blog. The topic of today’s post is malocclusion – literally – “bad bite”.
Edward Angle, a pioneer in modern orthodontics invented the term malocclusion. Malocclusion is fairly common in the population as a whole but, fortunately, in most cases the misalignment is so slight that it causes no problems.
When you combine multiple teeth on two arches and a jaw joint with a considerable range of motion, it is easy to see how these elements can fail to align properly. In fact, it is a wonder that they work correctly for most people – allowing them to talk, eat, and breathe without giving it a second thought.
There are many causes of malocclusion – some originating with the teeth and some originating with the jaw. Misshapen teeth, extracted teeth, impacted teeth, crowded teeth, and widely spaced teeth can impact the bite. Injury to the jaw can also cause malocclusion as well as improperly fitting restorations and other dental appliances.
Children with a normal bite can develop bite problems with prolonged pacifier use, thumb sucking or bottle drinking. In rarer cases, oral tumors can move a bite out of alignment.
The treatment for malocclusion depends on the cause. Orthodontics can move teeth into alignment to fix bite issues. Overcrowding often requires the extraction of one or more teeth. Misshapen teeth that affect the bite can often be fixed with crowns or dental bonding.
If the jawbone is significantly misshapen or misaligned, maxillofacial surgery may be required. Jaw surgery is a serious undertaking with significant risks and a long, painful recovery. While the jaw heals, it is secured with wires and screws. Ouch!
If your jaw hurts or you observe unusual wear to your teeth, it is critical that you are examined by a professional. Call 303-665-5335 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gordon West.
Our state-of-the-art dental care in a comfortable environment dental team has been serving patients at our comfortable Lafayette office since 1998. We can give you more specifics about malocclusion, dental crowns, sedation dentistry, or Invisalign clear braces.
Dr. West also advises Lafayette parents about essential issues such as tooth development, thumb-sucking, water fluoridation, dental sealants, oral sports protection, and orthodontia. If you suspect that your child has any degree of malocclusion, schedule an exam ASAP. Untreated bite troubles in children can inhibit proper nutrition, breathing, tooth development, and speech development.
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