Refers to a misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches when they approach each other as the jaws close.

Occlusion is a term that is used to refer to the alignment of the teeth.

None of the teeth should be rotated or twisted.

The teeth of the upper jaw should slightly overlap the teeth of the lower jaw so that the pointed ridges of your molars fit into the groves of the opposite molar.

Ideally, teeth should fit easily within the mouth without any crowding or spacing issues.

Typically diagnosed through routine dental exams.

Malocclusion is usually an inherited condition.

Deviations from ideal occlusion are known as malocclusion, which is a common finding.

It is not usually serious enough to require treatment in most cases.

Malocclusion of the teeth is a misalignment problem that can lead to serious oral health complications.

It’s also known as:

crowded teeth




open bite

Other kinds of malocclusions can be due to tooth size or horizontal, vertical, or transverse skeletal discrepancies, including skeletal asymmetries.

Long faces may lead to open bite malocclusion, while short faces can be coupled to a deep bite malocclusion.

Other more common causes for open bites-such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking, and likewise for deep bites.

With severe malocclusions, which present as a part of craniofacial anomalies, may require orthodontic and sometimes surgical treatment to correct the problem.

Malocclusion correctness may reduce risk of tooth decay and help relieve excessive pressure on the temporomandibular joint, and can be used to align for aesthetic reasons.

Malocclusions may be associated with skeletal disharmony of the face, where the relationship between the upper and lower jaws are not appropriate.

Such skeletal disharmonies often distort the face and may be coupled with mastication or speech problems.

There are three major classes of malocclusion:

Class 1

Class 1 malocclusion is diagnosed when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. The bite is normal and the overlap is slight. It is the most common classification of malocclusion.

Class 2

Class 2 malocclusion is diagnosed when a severe overbite is present. This condition, known as retrognathism. It means that the upper teeth and jaw significantly overlap the lower jaw and teeth.

Class 3

Class 3 malocclusion is also diagnosed when there’s a severe underbite. This condition, known as prognathism. It means that the lower jaw protrudes forward. This causes the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth and jaw.

Causes of malocclusion include: Extra teeth, lost teeth, impacted teeth, or abnormally shaped teeth.

A small underdeveloped jaw can be caused by lack of masticatory stress during childhood, and can result in tooth overcrowding.

Other causes of malocclusion include: Ill-fitting dental fillings, crowns, appliances, retainers, or braces as well as misalignment of jaw fractures after an injury, tumors of the mouth and jaw, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, pacifier use beyond age 3, and prolonged use of a bottle.

Teeth are not able to perform vital functions if they are misaligned.

Masticatory stress during childhood affects jaw development.

Crowding of the teeth is treated with orthodontics, often with tooth extraction, clear aligners, or dental braces, followed by modification in children or jaw surgery.

Treatments can include: braces to correct the position of the teeth

removal of teeth to correct overcrowding

reshaping, bonding, or capping of teeth

surgery to reshape or shorten the jaw

wires or plates to stabilize the jaw bone

Rarely, surgery is required: surgical reshaping to lengthen or shorten the jaw by wires, plates, or screws.

Almost any type of misalignment can cause issues.

Alignment of upper teeth is needed to prevent the cheeks and lips from being bitten.

Alignment of lower teeth is needed to protect the tongue from being bitten.

Some conditions or habits that may change the shape and structure of the jaw:

cleft lip and palate

frequent use of a pacifier after the age of 3

prolonged use of bottle feeding in early childhood

thumb sucking in early childhood

injuries that result in the misalignment of the jaw

tumors in the mouth or jaw

abnormally shaped or impacted teeth

poor dental care that results in improperly fitting dental fillings, crowns, or braces

airway obstruction with mouth breathing, potentially caused by allergies or by enlarged adenoids or tonsils

The symptoms of the disorder may be subtle or severe.


Typical symptoms of malocclusion include:

improper alignment of the teeth

alteration in the appearance of the face

frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue

discomfort when chewing or biting

speech problems, including the development of a lisp

breathing through the mouth rather than the nose

Treatment may result in complications:

tooth decay

pain or discomfort

irritation of the mouth from the use of appliances, such as braces

difficulty chewing or speaking during treatment

Limiting pacifier and bottle use in young children helps reduce changes in the development of the jaw.

Early detection may help cut down on the length of the treatment needed to correct the problem.

The treatment of malocclusion of teeth in children and adults is generally successful.

Early treatment reduces the duration of treatment

Adult treatment takes longer.

Oral habits and pressure on teeth or the maxilla and mandible are causes of malocclusion.

In the active skeletal growth, mouthbreathing, finger sucking, thumb sucking, pacifier sucking, nail biting, dermatophagia, pen biting, pencil biting, abnormal posture, deglutition disorders and other habits greatly influence the development of the face and dental arches.

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