Malocclusion in Dallas, Treatment Explained by Our Top-Rated Orthodontist Dr. Darin Ward
Greetings from Dallas, Texas! Occlusion is the word used to refer to the way your teeth come together. Mal-occlusion is a term used to describe the teeth coming together in a way that is not ideal. Normally, teeth should be straight, properly aligned, with the upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower teeth. Typically malocclusions are named after the Dr. Ed Angle, the Father of modern orthodontics. The angle classification refers to the relationship of upper and lower 1st molars with Angle class I meaning they are properly aligned, Angle class II the lower teeth are back relative to the upper teeth, and Angle class III the lower teeth are forward compared to the upper teeth.
Although the angle classification is a descriptor of the specific tooth relationship of the upper and lower 1st molars, it is commonly used in dentistry to describe jaw relationships. Class I refers to upper and lower jaw properly related, Angle class II refers to the lower jaw back relative to the upper jaw, and Angle class III refers to the lower jaw forward relative to the upper jaw. This can be confusing and deceiving as the molar relationship can be described as Angle class I yet the jaw relationship can be referred to as Angle Class II.
What Causes Malocclusion?
There are some risk factors for malocclusion, but most cases are caused by genetic factors or abnormal tooth growth. Some things, such as long-term pacifier or bottle usage, or injuries to the jaw can lead to a misaligned bite. Avoiding pacifiers after the age of 3 and curbing thumb-sucking in children may help avoid orthodontic issues.
To diagnose the condition, orthodontists run a series of diagnostics, taking into account these risk factors, to determine if malocclusion is present. Our orthodontist will examine how the bite fits together and the position of the jaw to check the type and severity of the malocclusion.
Benefits of Early Treatment
Treating malocclusion early is important to shorten the length of treatment and ensure that treatment is the most effective, as it is easier to adjust the bite and teeth in children.
If left untreated, malocclusion can lead to speech problems, face structure changes, and difficulty chewing or biting. Malocclusion can be treated with different types of braces, clear aligner therapy, and spacers. Oral surgery can also be used if necessary, including reshaping of the jaw bone.
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