A malocclusion is an incorrect relationship between the upper and lower dental arches when they approach each other as the jaw closes. The article discusses malocclusion and its impacts on humans and why it must be corrected.
When it comes to dentistry, there are diverse issues from cavities to bad breath and from missing teeth to irregular teeth. All these have a great impact on the overall health of an individual. Irregularly placed teeth, termed malocclusion, are one of the core dental problems that are commonly found in the population. This ranges from,
Protruded or retruded teeth
Deep bite, etc.
The various causes for malocclusion are;
1. Genetic Factors and Inheritance - Often, malocclusion runs in families.
2. Endocrine Issues - Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, gigantism, dwarfism, cretinism, etc., also result in malocclusion. This occurs due to the impact of endocrine hormones, which results in either small, large, and more teeth. These can also result in increased or decreased spacing of teeth.
3. Nutritional Factors - Deficiency of vitamin A, B9, B12, and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus deficiency, also result in an irregular pattern of teeth. The deficiency of nutrition during pregnancy also results in malocclusion.
4. Habits - Habits during childhood also cause various issues. There are some abnormal habits such as-
The habit of jaw protrusion often results in the proclination of upper front teeth.
5.Dental Issues - Dental caries, missing teeth, and defective restorations of teeth also result in malocclusion.
The following are the impacts of malocclusion on human health-
1) Aesthetic Problems:
Aesthetic problems are particularly seen among females.
2) Speech Issues:
The abnormal position of the tongue and teeth can interfere in speech, and hence patients will not be able to talk properly. This can have a large scale negative impact on his or her life.
3) Respiratory Issues:
It has been observed that patients with respiratory issues such as snoring at night and mouth breathing report complications due to malocclusion.
Abnormality in the occlusion often creates problems around the temporomandibular joint resulting in a headache. Myofascial pain dysfunction syndrome can result in muscle pain, headache, and lack of psychological well-being of patients.
5) Psychological Issues:
Psychological issues that occur due to cosmetic and aesthetic problems make people difficult to find a match for marriage. This impacts the girls particularly. Moreover, they are not able to find certain jobs due to a lack of proper speech and aesthetics.
6) Economic Issues:
Economic issues occur due to the financial burden on frequent dental check-ups and expensive treatment for correcting the problem. However, the rich are able to afford it. Major sections of the population who belong to low-income groups are not able to afford the treatment. So it becomes important to prevent its occurrence and correct it early.
The various preventive measures to be taken are;
Regular dental check-ups for children. This is particularly important for those where malocclusion runs in families.
Counseling to parents regarding
1. Healthy habits.
2. Nutritional demands.
3. The need for dental check-ups.
Treatment of minor dental problems at the earliest, such as discolored carious teeth.
Health talks in schools, communities, and town halls for awareness regarding early childhood care of teeth.
Counseling of people for early orthodontic interventions.
The treatment options are selected based on:
The case history.
Growth reports of the patient.
A) Case History:
The patient is first evaluated by systemic case history. The case history includes,
General examination of the body.
It is followed by a series of investigations. This may include,
C) Growth Reports of the Patient:
After these investigations, a detailed report of the case study is worked out. Based on the report, the treatment options are selected. Treatment usually depends on the nature of the problem and the age at which the patient is seen. Usually, the best age is when the person is growing. At this age, the treatment has a high success rate and is less expensive. Adults and elderly people can also be treated, but the duration of the treatment and costs are expensive.
The treatment includes:
1) Removable Orthodontic Appliances
These are the appliances that are used to correct minor discrepancies in occlusion. The removable appliances can be worn and removed by the patient at his own will. They are not permanently fixed to teeth. These are effective in the growing period and are less expensive.
2) Fixed Orthodontic Appliances
As the name suggests, these are permanently fixed with teeth for a specified period and are removed only by a professional orthodontist, not at the will of the patient. These are most popular as they cause less inconvenience to the patients and are also more effective than removable appliances. However, these are expensive and not affordable to all.
This is a recent technological advancement in orthodontics. Invisalign is also called invisible braces. These are usually made of polymeric materials, such as acrylic or plastic. After a careful history, examination, and investigations of the patient, a digital scan of the teeth is taken, and then invisible braces are fabricated using the software. These are then worn by the patient in series till teeth move at the desired location.
These are not suitable for growing patients, such as children.
These are usually effective for minor discrepancies in occlusion.
These are not as precise as fixed braces for achieving the desired results.
The patient can abandon or forget or lose them sometimes.
The patient is required to adhere to strict protocols, such as avoiding taking acidic beverages or energy drinks once they are put on invisible braces. This can result in the collection of the fluids in braces resulting in damage to appliances as well as teeth. These can preferably be taken once the patient has removed them.
These are more expensive than fixed braces. So these are less affordable to major sections of the population.
4) Orthognathic Surgery
It involves surgical interventions around the maxilla and mandible. This is particularly taken in connection with the fixed treatment among those patients who have crossed their growing period, we can say among mature adults.
Malocclusion is a major dental issue in a population. Although it is considered a harmless problem, it has a drastic impact on the psychological well-being and overall health of an individual. Prevention and correcting this problem can solve diverse life-long problems of an individual. So it is always wiser and better to treat this problem as early as possible for a healthy future.
Abnormalities in tooth eruption are usually provoked by heredity and may result in malocclusion. In critical cases, such as in Down syndrome, the eruption may be restricted by several years, and some teeth will never erupt.
A class III malocclusion is the misalignment of the teeth that end in a position where the lower teeth are placed more forward than the upper jaw's teeth. Class III malocclusion is diagnosed in a severe underbite where the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. This type of prominent lower jaw is known as prognathism.
Only about 20 percent of the population have naturally straight teeth in developed countries, with 30%-50% having such bad malocclusion that they need orthodontic treatment.
Overbites can change the face's overall appearance, making the chin look smaller and the face rounder. Orthognathic surgery can afford exciting improvements but happens at a high cost. There are many techniques to fix an overbite, although the treatment options are often slow, complex, or expensive.
About 20 percent of the population has naturally straight teeth. Rapidly growing countries with increasing urban populations quickly catch up with this bad malocclusion that they need orthodontic treatment. By contrast, in classical tribal societies, crooked teeth are rare. Furthermore, the archaeological record reveals that malocclusion was also rare in the pre-industrial periods. Therefore it is not unusual to have naturally straight teeth.
Ways to correct crooked teeth are:
- Veneers are ideal for correcting crooked teeth that have spacing issues, that are misaligned, discolored, or chipped.
- Invisible Aligners, which is one of the excellent alternatives to braces.
- Orthodontic Appliances like braces.
Gaps in between baby teeth are normal and healthy. The primary purpose of baby teeth is to keep the space for permanent teeth. The upcoming permanent teeth can fill up these gaps. If the gap still presents in the baby's front teeth, large molars will close it when they develop in. Other causes of gaps, like small teeth, will typically get fixed when they get their adult teeth.
Baby teeth are essential for many reasons. At about six months of age, babies are usually introduced to solid foods, and baby teeth are an integral part of learning how to chew and enjoy food properly at later feeding stages. This is why it is crucial to resolve if your child's late tooth eruption is of serious concern.
Several treatments are available to straighten teeth without braces, including retainers, appliances such as Herbst appliance, palatal expanders, headgear, and clear aligners like Invisalign.
The ectopic eruption is a dental problem in which a tooth follows an irregular eruption pattern, eventually breaking through an incorrect position. This ectopic eruption can unfavorably affect the tooth positioned anteriorly. The ectopic eruption can result in external resorption and destruction of the tooth in its way of eruption.
Last reviewed at:
10 Nov 2021 - 5 min read
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