At Neal C. Johnson DMD in Billings MT , we know that a common dental problem tends to go undiagnosed for years. This is because people chalk it up to genetics and don’t even realize it’s a problem. The problem we’re talking about is, of course, malocclusion.
Literally meaning “bad bite,” it is a term coined by Edward Angle, a pioneer in modern orthodontics. Malocclusion is fairly common in the population as a whole but often, the misalignment is so slight that it causes no issues. Sometimes, however, it can cause symptoms like headaches, neck pain, and tooth pain.
When you combine multiple teeth on two arches and a jaw joint with a considerable range of motion, it is easy to see how these elements can fail to align properly. In fact, it is a wonder that they work correctly for most people – allowing them to talk, eat, and breathe without giving it a second thought.
There are many causes of malocclusion – some originating with the teeth and some originating with the jaw. Misshapen teeth, extracted teeth, impacted teeth, crowded teeth, and widely spaced teeth can influence the bite. Injury to the jaw can also cause malocclusion as well as improperly fitting restorations and other dental appliances.
Children with a normal bite can develop bite dilemmas with prolonged pacifier use, thumb sucking, or bottle drinking. In rarer cases, oral tumors can move a bite out of alignment.
The treatment for malocclusion depends on the cause. Invisalign® clear braces can move teeth into alignment to fix bite issues. Overcrowding often requires extraction of one or more teeth. Misshapen teeth that affect the bite can often be corrected with crowns or dental bonding.
At Neal C. Johnson DMD in Billings MT , we are ready to discuss your options and design a dental plan to deal with your malocclusion. Don’t hesitate. Patients from Lockwood, Billings Heights, and Laurel come to us for cosmetic and family dentistry. Contact us today!