Occlusion is a term that refers to the way your teeth fit together. In a normal mouth, the upper teeth are marginally over the lower teeth, and the teeth fit nicely together without any problems or pain. However, malocclusions of the teeth refer to misalignments that can have lasting effects on your smile. These misalignments could be referring to your bite (cross bite, under bite, overbite, open bite), or your teeth (crowded teeth, crooked teeth). What causes malocclusions of the teeth?
Many of the misalignment problems dentists and orthodontists see today are hereditary, meaning they were likely inherited genes that were passed on to you from one of your parents. This could mean that you have a small mouth with too many teeth, different sized upper and lower jaws, or complex bite problems that’ll need to be fixed with orthodontic treatment. This is one of the most common causes of misaligned bites and can create problems that’ll need to be addressed by your dentist. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent this cause of misalignment!
Overuse of Pacifier and Bottle Feeding
What you do as a child can affect your smile as you get older, despite the fact that you lose your primary teeth and get adult teeth in long before you notice there’s a problem. If you used a pacifier after the age of three or were still using a bottle after this age, chances are this affected the bite and structure of your teeth. Dentists commonly see an open bite with this problem that originated in early childhood.
Another problem that could lead to malocclusions of the teeth could be thumb sucking. While it’s normal for babies to suck their thumbs, any excessive use of this can alter the structure of your teeth. If you have children, do your best to discourage these habits long before they can become problems that will require dental treatment.
Injury to your face or mouth could cause a misaligned bite. This includes accidents, but it could also include subpar dental care, such as poorly fitted restorative dentistry work like dental fillings and dental crowns. Even poor orthodontic work could negatively affect your bite and cause more problems that it was intended to fix!
Injury may also come from losing your baby teeth too early (before the age of four years and six months) or even losing your adult teeth. You may also have tumors that are causing your misalignment, which are always imperative to get checked out with your doctor.
While malocclusions of the teeth can be obvious in appearance for some people, in others, only symptoms will appear such as difficulty chewing or speaking. Your dentist is often the first person who sees that there’s a problem and can help you plan steps to correct it along with your orthodontist. If you experience mouth breathing, uncomfortable chewing, or even problems pronouncing words, schedule an appointment with your dentist. A misaligned bite could be to blame!