Occlusion refers to the alignment of the upper and lower teeth. Ideally, the upper teeth should fit slightly over the lower teeth. If the teeth do not fit together normally, malocclusion is diagnosed. When malocclusion is present, the teeth are not able function as they are supposed to. At Seligman Orthodontics , we assist our patients in maintaining optimum oral health by diagnosing and treating malocclusion.
It is estimated that only 30-40% of the population has perfectly aligned teeth. Typically, malocclusion is inherited and passed down in families. Additionally, there are many habits that can negatively impact the structure of the jaw. These include thumb sucking during childhood, cleft lip or palate, poor dental care, injuries, or impacted teeth.
Symptoms of malocclusion vary among patients. Some people experience only a subtle misalignment of the teeth, while others begin to notice a visible change in their facial appearance. Speech problems, painful chewing, and mouth-breathing are also symptoms which might mean possible malocclusion.
If you suspect that you or your child has malocclusion, an orthodontist can diagnose the issue after an oral exam and a series of x-rays. There are three classes of malocclusion , ranging in severity and treatment options. Class 1 malocclusion refers to patients exhibiting a slight overlap of the bottom and top teeth. It is the most common form and often does not require treatment. Class 2 malocclusion is known as retrognathism, which refers to a severe overbite. Class 3 malocclusion is called prognathism, and refers to a severe underbite. Treatment of Class 2 and 3 malocclusions is generally recommended to avoid further oral health problems.
Treatment options vary depending on the class of malocclusion. Your orthodontist may recommend braces, capping teeth, the removal of teeth, or surgery in order to prevent the overcrowding of teeth, or to reshape or stabilize the jaw bone. After your treatment, a retainer may be necessary to retain the stability of your teeth.
If you’re looking for a top Park Avenue orthodontist specializing in malocclusion treatment, consider scheduling a visit with Dr. Seligman , NYC’s best orthodontist. Call (646) 681-8519 to speak with our staff today.