Hello! I’m Marcos Ortega, DDS, of Marcos Ortega DDS in San Diego. 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 affect 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 issues 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 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 see unusual wear to your teeth, it is essential that you are examined by a professional. Call 619-295-4545 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Marcos Ortega.
Dr. Ortega also advises San Diego parents about critical 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 <~URVChildren> can inhibit proper nutrition, breathing, tooth development, and speech development.
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