Many people experience misalignment of teeth that can greatly affect their oral functioning and self-esteem. It is considered a perfect bite when your front teeth are slightly forward, and the valleys and peaks of your upper and bottom teeth meet comfortably.
Anything other than that isn’t a perfect bite, and such teeth misalignments are called malocclusions. A misaligned bite is common; however, some severe cases may require aesthetic or cosmetic procedures for their fixture. Malocclusions can affect primary oral functioning, including breathing, chewing, and talking, if left untreated. Some more severe teeth misalignment problems can also lead to:
- Tissue damage while biting teeth
- Teeth grinding or bruxism
- Decaying, weakening, and breakage of teeth
- Uneven or premature wearing of teeth
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which includes earaches, tenderness, headaches, and facial pain
Common Teeth Alignment Problems
Different malocclusions are mostly a result of prolonged habits or some natural conditions, such as thumb sucking, prolonged bottle feeding, tooth loss, injuries, lack of oral care, or impacted teeth. There are mainly three types of malocclusions, discussed below:
Class 1 Malocclusion
This is primarily a minor teeth alignment problem caused by prolonged thumb sucking or bottle feeding. In class 1 malocclusion, the lower and upper teeth overlap each other. This type has further three kinds:
- Upper and lower teeth leaning towards the tongue
- Lower teeth lean towards the tongue while upper teeth stick outwards
- Upper and crowded teeth leaning towards the tongue
Orthodontists treat these malocclusions by using minor treatments requiring less time and minimal procedures.
Class 2 Malocclusion
In this type of malocclusion, a person’s upper teeth stick out or overlap the lower teeth. The class 2 malocclusion requires early treatment as it can affect the bite. This type of teeth misalignment may require more sessions for treatment than class 1 malocclusion. Class 2 malocclusion can be divided into the following two types:
- Upper teeth tilted towards the teeth
- Upper and central incisors tilted towards the tongue
Class 3 Malocclusion
Class 2 malocclusion is a significant cause of underbite, where the lower teeth extend beyond the upper teeth. However, it can also be considered a case of crossbite when several lower and upper teeth overlap. The class 3 malocclusion has three other kinds:
- An irregular arc shape formed by lower and upper teeth
- Lower front teeth leaning towards the tongue
- Upper teeth leaning towards the tongue while forming an abnormal arc shape
Symptoms of Malocclusions
Here are the most common symptoms of malocclusions, knowing which you can easily and quickly identify the type of malocclusion:
- Diastema: A common spacing problem between teeth that mostly occur between the front two teeth.
- Overjet: Upper front teeth leaning above the lower front teeth horizontally.
- Spacing: Abnormal space between multiple teeth.
- Crossbite: Abnormal biting of one or multiple teeth. This misalignment also greatly affects the lower and upper teeth in general.
- Overcrowding: Overcrowding is a lack of spacing between multiple teeth. This is a common condition that leads to crooked and crowded teeth.
- Underbite: Underbite is called anterior crossbite, in which the lower front teeth are arranged forward more than the upper teeth.
- Open Bite: Lower front teeth greatly bite the rooftop of the mouth.
- Missing Tooth: This is called hypodontia and is caused by trauma or improper teeth alignment.
- Impacted Tooth: This happens when a tooth cannot erupt out of the gum naturally. In this case, brace-fitting is done to provide exposure and extraction to the tooth.
All of the above mentioned are the most common 3 types of teeth alignment problems, also known as malocclusion. All of these malocclusion kinds can be effectively treated by minor oral procedures. However, early dental treatment and intervention are necessary to avoid further problems.
For reliable dental guidance in this regard, contact our experts at Burke + Beckstrom Orthodontics for the most effective oral treatments.