Malocclusion is dental-speak for crooked teeth. When you examine all the different ways numerous 3-dimensional objects can be positioned, it is not surprising that malocclusion presents itself in numerous forms. The number of configurations may surprise you:
When teeth slant forward, it is called upper protrusion, but you may have heard this condition referred to as “buck teeth.”
An overbite occurs when the upper front teeth come down too far over the lower teeth when the mouth is closed. And underbite is the reverse condition – the upper front teeth close farther back than the lower front teeth. An open bite refers to a bite in which the upper don’t overlap the lower teeth. This can be present on the whole bite or just one side.
Tooth rotation is one of the most common forms of malocclusion. Rotated teeth appear as if they are twisting out of place. Tooth rotation can create the illusion of uneven coloring because of the way light reflects off the face of teeth.
When the upper and lower palate are misaligned to the point where the upper teeth close onto the wrong side of the lower teeth, it is called a cross bite.
In some rare cases – called transposition – teeth erupt in spots where other teeth should be. For example, a canine (pointed tooth) comes in where an incisor (front biting tooth) should be. Can you imagine trying to chew if your teeth have been playing musical chairs?
Many people with crooked teeth are too self-conscious to smile, but aesthetics are not the only issue at play. Crooked teeth can increase the risk of dental caries, tooth damage, and TMD temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Young children with crooked teeth may have difficulty learning how to speak, and if they can’t chew meat and raw vegetables thoroughly, they may miss out on necessary nutrients due to a limited diet.
If you or your child has crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, we invite you to schedule a comprehensive examination without delay.