Malocclusion (Crooked Teeth)

The alignment of your teeth plays a significant role in many aspects of your dental health. For your bite to function properly, for instance, your teeth must be aligned so that they meet each other squarely when you bite down. Otherwise, the uneven pressure of your bite can lead to serious oral health issues such as worn and damaged teeth, or damage to your jaw’s joints (a condition known as TMJ disorder). Crooked teeth are also more difficult to clean, making it easier for plaque and tartar to form and raising your risks of tooth infection, periodontal disease, and more. In addition to the uneven appearance of your smile and the impact it can have on your confidence, malocclusion can also present a significant threat to the long-term health and integrity of your teeth.

Causes of Malocclusion

Malocclusion often develops in early childhood, and can be the result of a variety of factors. For instance, thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use, deciduous teeth, and abnormal tooth/jaw development are just a few of many common contributing factors. In adult years, teeth can also grow crooked from uneven bite pressure, tooth loss, impacted wisdom teeth, and more. When left untreated, malocclusion often grows worse, and in severe cases, the condition can lead to a host of severe oral health issues that require extensive dental restoration.

Treatment Options

The most effective treatment for malocclusion is orthodontic braces, which consist of brackets that are bonded to your teeth and arch wires that gradually force your teeth into straighter positions. When a child’s dentist notices malocclusion in early childhood, the dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment to correct the alignment and help guide teeth into proper, straighter positions. Early orthodontics can help correct the growth of your child’s teeth to reduce the need for orthodontic correction in later years. Adults with moderate to severe malocclusion may also require braces, though many may qualify for more comfortable discreet clear aligners, such as Invisalign®.