When dental problems they arise, they affect both our physical appearance and functioning to some extent. Many of us don’t pay much attention to crooked teeth unless we are reminded by someone else about our appearance. On some other occasions, we visit the dentist if we have started to experience some sort of discomfort or pain in the mouth.
Frequently, a lot of oral health issues that affect both the gums and teeth arise when the latter violate normal alignment in the jaws. This is called malocclusion. If your tooth or teeth happen to be crowded, protruding or introducing or even missing, it requires expert attention.
Symptoms Of A Malocclusion
Following are the typical signs of a malocclusion.
- Faulty alignment of the teeth
- Change in facial appearance
- Frequent incidences of cheek biting
- Difficulty in chewing food
- Problems with speech problems like a lisp
- Mouth breathing while sleeping
Causes Of Malocclusion
Change in normal alignment of teeth can occur due to habits in early childhood, injuries of the jaws or congenitally.
1. Cleft Lip And Palate (CLP)
A congenital condition, cleft lip, and palate can lead to problems with the normal eruption and arrangement of the teeth in the upper jaw. Especially the front teeth are more likely t o be absent or impacted in the jaws due to the condition. If not treated from infancy itself, this condition can lead to severe malocclusion and problems with speech and function.
The advent of corrective dental and oral procedures nowadays ensure that CLP and its associated conditions are rectified at right from an individual’s early childhood.1
2. Prolonged Bottle Feeding, Thumb Sucking, Or Pacifier Use
Babies love to suck. What starts out as thumb-sucking graduates to pacifier use and bottle feeding. However, if you allow your child to use a pacifier or be bottle fed even after the age of 3, malocclusion arizes. The child develops abnormalities in the jaw and teeth like caries, a high palate and protruding teeth that leads to an open bite.2
3. Abnormal Or Unerupted Teeth
Various factors can prevent teeth from erupting in the mouth. These include trauma, inadequate space or milk teeth that haven’t fallen off. Sometimes teeth may erupt out of the dental arches and might even have a distorted shape. In such a scenario, the eruption sequence of the rest of the teeth can go haywire leading to malocclusion.
4. Traumatic Injuries Of The Jaw
Dental problems are very common among individuals who have suffered trauma to the jaws. Depending on the severity of the injury, either the jaws or teeth or both could get affected a great deal. Surgical treatment and rehabilitative oral procedures can help in fixing these issues to an extent.
5. Tumors In The Oral Cavity
Certain cancers of the oral cavity present as swellings that displace teeth with growth. If you notice a swelling in your mouth that’s pushing your teeth out of alignment, you should meet a dental surgeon immediately.3
6. Incompetent Dental Care
Malocclusion can occur as a result of undergoing sub-par dental procedures. Fillings in the mouth, improper orthodontic treatment and crowns can all lead to trouble in mouth functioning if not done by an expert dentist.
7. Habit Of Mouth Breathing
An obstruction in the airways or the nasal passages can cause individuals to breathe through their mouth for comfort. If it isn’t identified and treated at the earliest, it can lead to severe oral problems like protruding upper teeth, narrowing of the mid-face and jaws.4
The causes of malocclusion are mostly preventable unless it’s congenital in nature. The most important thing to remember is that healthy teeth are crucial for overall health. Visit your dentist at least twice a year to stay abreast of how healthy your oral cavity is. If any cases of malocclusion are noticed, orthodontic, prosthetic or restorative procedures will be done by your dentist to solve them.
|↑1||Dental Care for a Child with Cleft Lip and Palate. ACPA Family Services|
|↑2||Thumb sucking and pacifier use. American Dental Association|
|↑3||Oral Cancer. National Institute Of Dental And Craniofacial Research|
|↑4||Grippaudo, C., E. G. Paolantonio, G. Antonini, R. Saulle, G. La Torre, and R. Deli. “Association between oral habits, mouth breathing and malocclusion.” Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica 36, no. 5 (2016): 386.|