Oral and maxillofacial surgeons see patients with dental occlusion problems every day. Malocclusion is a misalignment that is diagnosed when the teeth do not close properly.
There are several different types of malocclusions, all of which can have significant consequences. In this article, find out more about the types of malocclusions, their effects and the ways they can be treated.
Types of malocclusions and their symptoms
Before we get into consequences and treatments, let’s take a look at the different types of malocclusions. There are three main classes of malocclusions, each of which has its own particular effects on dental health.
Class 1 malocclusion
Class 1 malocclusions are the most common type of dental occlusion problem. Around 50% to 55% of adolescents and young adults experience this type of malocclusion.
There are a variety of signs that can indicate a class 1 malocclusion. For the occlusion problem to be class 1, the molars must be properly aligned, but the other teeth can present various anomalies such as overlapping, rotation, spaces, asymmetry, etc.
Class 2 malocclusion
Class 2 malocclusions involve upper molars that are too far forward compared to the lower molars. This is usually caused by a jaw abnormality such as the mandible being too small or too far back. Class 2 malocclusion is often called an overbite, or retrognathism.
Class 3 malocclusion
Class 3 malocclusion, also called an underbite or prognathism, is more or less the reverse of class 2. People with class 3 malocclusions have upper molars that are too far back compared to the lower molars. This type of problem is usually caused by a jaw abnormality such as the mandible being too large.
The potential consequences of malocclusion
Untreated malocclusions can have a variety of negative consequences on oral, physical and mental health.
- Maintaining good oral hygiene is more difficult: Because the teeth are misaligned, some areas of the mouth and teeth are harder to reach with a toothbrush and floss. This increases the risk of developing cavities.
- Respiratory disorders related to malocclusion: Every class of malocclusion can lead to respiratory problems, but this is a particular risk for people whose upper and lower jaw are severely misaligned.
- Speaking and chewing problems: Malocclusion can make it difficult to speak and chew properly. These problems may be more or less severe depending on the extent of the misalignment.
- Prematurely worn teeth: Malocclusion prevents the teeth from closing in an optimal way. This can cause the teeth to grind together and erode prematurely.
- Lower self-esteem: For some, a misaligned smile or facial asymmetry can lead to lower confidence and self-esteem. In severe cases, the problem can cause significant mental health issues such as anxiety disorders.
With the many technical and technological advances in dentistry, a variety of treatments are now available to correct malocclusions.
Less severe occlusion problems like class 1 malocclusions can be treated with orthodontics—appliances like retainers and braces are generally enough to correct the bite.
However, when the malocclusion is caused by jaw misalignment, orthognathic surgery is often necessary. In such cases, a maxillofacial surgery specialist will need to examine the patient’s facial structure in order to determine the best procedure.
Want to avoid the consequences of malocclusion? Clinique Evoro can help!
Malocclusions come with their share of negative effects. It’s important to have a reputable maxillofacial surgeon correct the problem in order to avoid the long-term consequences.
Are you looking for a maxillofacial surgery specialist in the Gatineau region? Contact the team at Clinique Evoro!