Malocclusion refers to the uneven fit between your lower and upper teeth or to teeth that are overcrowded. If you have an overbite, this could have resulted from early thumb sucking or other activities that forced your upper teeth to jut over your lower teeth. On the other hand, you could have an underbite, which occurs when your lower jaw is positioned in front of your upper jaw. Malocclusion can also be hereditary in nature or a consequence of crossbite. Crossbite occurs when your lower jaw does not align with the upper jaw when the teeth come together.
Reasons to Repair Malocclusion
Repairing your misaligned teeth is not merely a matter of fixing your teeth's cosmetic appearance (as important as this is). It can also help you express yourself more clearly because your misaligned teeth will no longer be interfering with your speech. In addition, it will allow you to eat better, since people with malocclusion often have trouble eating certain things.
Treatments for malocclusion
From braces to surgery, dentists have a wide range of methods they can use to deal with malocclusion problems. Naturally, surgery is only used as a last resort. Most of the time, malocclusions are fixed using braces. Children as young as seven are often fitted with these dental appliances in order to correct bite problems as early as possible. Below are some of the ways that malocclusion is treated.
You can get more information my talking to a local orthodontist, like one at Cazes Family Dentistry LLC.
Traditional braces (made up of wires, brackets and O-rings) can help to slowly realign your bite by putting pressure on the teeth. Self-ligating braces eliminate the O-rings and use clips to hold the wire components in place. They're believed to be more comfortable than other types of traditional braces.
Ceramic braces are made so that the color matches your teeth, making them harder to see. Ceramic braces are generally only used for upper teeth. This is because the hard surface of the braces can wear away at tooth enamel if you happen to grind your teeth during the night.
Lingual braces are designed to be placed behind your teeth so they aren't visible at all. Your dentist will have to be specially trained to employ this treatment option, so it might cost a little more.
Clear braces are designed to be removable when you want to floss or brush your teeth. These braces are small trays that have been precisely designed based on 3-D computer modeling. They are particularly useful when trying to protect your teeth from damage, since other types of braces often make it difficult for a patient to carry out effective dental hygiene.