A malocclusion occurs when your top and bottom teeth do not fit together in the right way. This type of misalignment should be treated, often with dental braces, in order to prevent long-term problems such as excessive wear on the teeth or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Diagnosing a Malocclusion
Your dentist will probably be the first person to notice serious problems with the alignment of your teeth. Malocclusions are often found in younger patients as their teeth emerge, replacing baby teeth with permanent teeth. Sometimes the problems are apparent even before permanent teeth arrive. If teeth look like they will be severely misaligned, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist for further diagnosis and discussion.
Some of the long-term problems that can occur if malocclusion is left untreated include:
- Abnormal wear and tear, leading to eventual tooth loss
- Teeth that overlap or that are crowded and too close together
- Discomfort in the jaw joint and eventual TMD symptoms
- Inability to chew efficiently
Treating misalignment can prevent these problems from developing. In addition, orthodontic treatment will give you a straight, beautiful smile. The cosmetic advantages, though, are secondary to preventing problems that could lead to long-term discomfort or eventual tooth loss.
One of the most common forms of treatment for malocclusion is dental braces. Metal braces are cemented to the teeth and used as anchors for rubber bands that exert pressure that shifts the teeth into the proper position over time. Other treatments sometimes employed include palate spreaders to make more room in the mouth, or other forms of orthodontic treatment such as aligner trays. These treatments are designed to ensure your teeth are properly aligned and remain in the correct position in the long term.
You, your dentist, and your orthodontist will work together to determine if you need dental braces and what type of orthodontic treatment is best for you. In the long run, treating your malocclusion will help you maintain optimal dental health.
Contact Creekview Orthodontics at 214-547-0001 for more information about treating malocclusions today.