Malocclusion

Also known as: malocclusion of teeth, overbite, underbite, crossbite, crowded teeth.

What is malocclusion?

Occlusion is the medical term that refers to the alignment of the teeth.

Normally the upper teeth should fit over the lower teeth slightly. Malocclusion simply means that the upper teeth of the jaw are irregularity in contact with the lower jaw teeth.

There are a number of types of malocclusion which include an “overbite” or “underbite” or “open bite” or “crossbite” abnormalities. Most children have some mild malocclusion though in some cases it can be quite severe.

What causes malocclusion?

There are a number of factors involved which may result in malocclusion including:

  • genetic/hereditary disorders
  • prolonged sucking the thumb or fingers
  • prolonged use of feeding bottle
  • extra or lost teeth
  • small spacing between teeth
  • jaw issues after a fracture
  • tumors of the mouth or jaw

What are the symptoms of malocclusion?

Along with the jaw misalignment issues mentioned above, malocclusion can cause an abnormal looking face, speech difficulties, discomfort when biting and chewing, teeth grinding and/or decay, gum disease, mouth breathing and others.

What are malocclusion care options?

Treatment depends on your child’s age, symptoms, general health and on severity. These include installing braces or other dental appliances, removal or repair of problem teeth or jaw surgery.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: June 25, 2021 11:17 AM

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