Malocclusion is a misalignment of the teeth, and it can result in many serious oral health issues. It is generally caused by a combination of inherited and behavioural factors.
There are a variety of different types of malocclusions, including overbite, crowded teeth, underbite, crossbite and open bite.
All of these can cause the teeth perform their eating function incorrectly, and they can also inhibit the patient’s ability to breathe and speak normally.
So what actually causes malocclusion? Can it be prevented?
Malocclusion conditions are most often an inherited, and so in many cases, they can’t really be prevented as such. But fortunately, if they're identified early on, they can be treated, thereby preventing them from becoming more serious over time.
Sometimes, malocclusion is the result of habits or conditions that can be prevented or curtailed. If these issues are dealt with early enough, then the malocclusion that may otherwise have developed can be largely avoided. These habits and conditions include:
- injuries resulting in jaw misalignment
- frequent pacifier use past the page of 3
- thumb sucking past the age of 3
- poor dental care resulting in tooth loss
- prolonged bottle feeding
If the above problems are eliminated early enough, the malocclusion that might otherwise result can be avoided.