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What’s a Malocclusion? Biting Down on Roots of The Word

January 25, 2022

Sometimes you might hear a phrase from a specialist like the orthodontist at Pritchard Orthodontics that might sound a bit confusing. Take the term “malocclusion,” which may seem like it comes from a different language altogether. Well, in fact, it does. Malocclusion has its roots in Latin, meaning “bad bite.” The word has become shorthand for describing a variety of factors that occur when teeth don’t fit together properly.

Our orthodontist will not only explain what causes the various types of malocclusions, but can provide treatment to bring the jaw and teeth into alignment so that vital functions of eating, speaking and breathing are being accomplished efficiently and comfortably. Our orthodontist has spent years beyond dental school carefully studying the many forces that collude to produce a misaligned bite, and can recognize and correct each one using the most modern techniques and materials available. Don’t count on these malocclusions to resolve by themselves. If left untreated, they will invariably worsen, causing a deterioration of the patient’s oral and digestive health.

Some of the common malocclusions are teeth that are too crowded; a crossbite (in which the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth); and open bite (when the teeth slant outward and don’t touch when the mouth is closed); an underbite (when the lower jaw juts out in front of the upper jaw); and overbite (when the top teeth jut out beyond the lower teeth, also known as buck teeth).

What causes these malocclusions? Most often it’s an inherited trait, but can also be triggered by an injury; thumb sucking or the prolonged use of a baby bottle or pacifier; a cleft lip and palate; and teeth that are impacted or unusually shaped.

Whatever may be causing your jaw and teeth to be out of alignment, trust the expert care you’ll receive at Pritchard Orthodontics to get you back on track. Please contact our office today for an appointment.