What is Malocclusion? An occlusion basically means “bite,” or how the teeth fit together when the upper and lower jaw close. And, if you’ve ever learned any basic spanish you know that “mal” means “wrong,” “evil,” or “bad.” So, a malocclusion is a bad bite.
One in five people have malocclusions with differing forms of irregular contact between the upper and lower teeth. Some of these are only minor problems that don’t need fixing, while the majority of the others require correction by an orthodontic specialist.
Malocclusion can show up in several ways and will need to be evaluated by your dentist for the right kind of treatment. The ways it can appear are as an overbite, open bite, underbite, or crossbite. The final goal for treatment is proper alignment for equal distribution of biting force and effective chewing. If ignored, these imbalances can lead to broken teeth and even tooth loss over time.
The three categories of malocclusion are:
Class 1: Teeth with spaces, crowding, or come in rotated, causing improper bite contact.
Class 2: Lower jaw is sitting too far back causing overbite. Most common type.
Class 3: Lower jaw is too far forward causing underbite. Potential for TMJ.
Treatment for malocclusion is usually the purview of an orthodontist or in rare cases a specialist in maxillofacial surgery. Most times treatment is done in phases by applying braces and making adjustments over time.
If you have malocclusion and would like more information about treatment, call Dr. Jae Park and our helpful team at Arizona Orthodontic Centers. Phone: 623-877-8500, or come by our office in Phoenix, Arizona.