Information by Age Group:
0-12 Months 1-4 Years 5-10 Years 11+ Years General

What is Malocclusion?

What is malocclusion?

Malocclusion is defined as the improper positioning of the teeth and jaws. It is highly variable and affects the normal growth and development of the mouth. Other issues that may arise is an improper bite, the inability to clean teeth properly, irritated gum tissue, speech development and appearance.

What causes malocclusion?

Malocclusions develop from a variety of factors that range from heredity to the environment. The shape and size of the face, jaws and teeth are mostly determined by inheritance. Your dentist is specially trained to address different types of malocclusions and recommend treatment that is best suited for your child.

How long does it take to treat a malocclusion?

The dentist will assess your child’s mouth and provide an estimate of the length of time it will take to treat the malocclusion. In some cases, the treatment may be divided up into several phases, which follows the child’s normal growth pattern and development. Every child presents an individual case and is treated to accordingly to meet their needs.

Is it necessary to remove healthy teeth to correct a malocclusion?

It may be necessary to remove selected primary teeth in order to guide the permanent teeth into proper position. Careful diagnosis and evaluation of your child’s mouth is utmost importance in determining which teeth are removed. Some malocclusions involved removing permanent teeth while others do not. As each case varies, it is important to carefully discuss with your dentist as to how your child’s mouth will eventually develop before making a decision.

What information does the dentist need to evaluate a developing malocclusion?

Depending on the complexity of your child’s mouth, your dentist will give a diagnosis and address the issues they identify. In addition to a thorough clinical examination, impressions of the teeth are made. These models assist the dentist by providing a reference between your child’s teeth and jaw development and allow them to monitor the progress.

Photographs of the face and teeth also monitor your child’s facial appearance. X-rays may be required to identify developing malocclusions. Upper and lower teeth are visualized using panoramic x-rays. They are most commonly used and also show the teeth developing within the jaws. A lateral x-ray of the entire head displays the relationship of the teeth and jaws to the face and skull.

What types of appliances are used to correct malocclusion?

Removable appliances are made of wires and plastic and custom fit to your child’s mouth. Your child may require upper and lower teeth appliances at the same time. The best results are seen when the patient wears the appliance as instructed by the dentist. Removable appliances are easier to be kept clean.

Fixed appliances such as braces are attached directly to the teeth. With these appliances, tooth movement is better controlled. However, proper cleaning and oral hygiene is important and required to prevent cavities and to remove foods that collect around the appliance in order to achieve the best results.
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