Common Types of Malocclusion

February 19, 2014

Occlusion refers to the way in which your teeth are aligned, and the way your upper and lower jaws fit together. In a proper bite pattern, all of your upper teeth should be very slightly forward of the lower teeth, with the points of your molars fitting neatly into the grooves of the opposite molars. Malocclusion occurs when the teeth are out of alignment. There are many types of improper bite patterns. When you meet an orthodontist to discuss undergoing orthodontic treatment , he or she can explain your particular type of malocclusion.

Dentist and female patient

Open Bite
If your orthodontist diagnoses you with an open bite, it means that there is an abnormal opening where your teeth don’t fit together when you bite down. In an open bite, the molars may fit together properly, yet the front upper teeth do not properly overlap the front lower teeth.

If your top front teeth are behind your lower front teeth when you close your jaws, you have an underbite. In most cases, an underbite is hereditary. However, sometimes other factors can contribute, such as tongue thrusting or mouth breathing.

Your orthodontist will diagnose you with a crossbite if any of the teeth on one jaw lie on the wrong side of the teeth on the other jaw when you bite down. A crossbite often occurs as a result of genetics or because one of your jaws is disproportionate in size to the other. If left untreated with orthodontic care, a crossbite may lead to excessive tooth enamel wear, receding gums, facial asymmetries, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

Upper Protrusion
An upper protrusion is a type of malocclusion often caused by a small lower jaw. However, sometimes it’s the result of excessive pacifier use or thumb-sucking. An upper protrusion is characterized by the outward position of the upper front teeth. This condition is sometimes referred to as “buck teeth.”

Dr. David Seligman of Seligman Orthodontics has extensive experience in working with patients with all types of malocclusion. We’ll customize your orthodontic treatment to suit your unique needs. Schedule a consultation with our Park Avenue practice today by calling (646) 681-8519.

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