Malocclusion means the teeth are not aligned properly.
Malocclusion is often hereditary, which means the condition is passed down through families. There may be a difference between the size of the upper and lower jaws or between jaw and tooth size, resulting in the overcrowding of teeth.
Variations in size or structure of either jaw may affect its shape, as can birth defects such as cleft lip and palate. Other causes of malocclusion include:
- Childhood habits such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use, and prolonged use of a bottle.
- Extra teeth, lost teeth, impacted teeth, or abnormally shaped teeth.
- Ill-fitting dental fillings, crowns, appliances, retainers, or braces.
- Misalignment of jaw fractures after a severe injury.
- Tumors of the mouth and jaw.
Exams and Tests
Most problems with teeth alignment are discovered by a dentist during a routine exam. The dentist may pull your cheek outward and ask you to bite down to check how well your back teeth come together. If there is any problem, the dentist will usually refer you to an orthodontist for diagnosis and treatment.
Dental x-rays, head or skull x-rays or facial x-rays will usually be done by the orthodontist as are plaster or plastic molds of the teeth.« Go Back