This term has to do with the alignment of your teeth. Occlusion is the root word, which has to do with how teeth are positioned in the mouth, and malocclusion is when teeth deviate from the ideal alignment.

What is the ideal alignment of teeth?

As one may assume, ideal alignment means that there isn’t any crowding or spacing issues among your teeth. Also, there shouldn’t be any twisting or rotation. Lastly, the teeth of the upper jaw should overlap the lower jaw just by a small length, so that the molars of the top and bottom fit together within the grooves.

malocclusion oremWhat causes malocclusion?

Researchers say that only about a third of people have good alignment of teeth. Misalignment is often inherited, so if your parents and grandparents have crooked or misaligned teeth, braces might be in your future.

Other causes of alignment issues include thumb sucking in childhood, jaw injuries, impacted teeth, use of a pacifier past age three and cleft lip. Also, dental fillings and crowns that aren’t placed properly can result in malocclusion.

Some common symptoms of malocclusion:
• You breathe through the mouth rather than the nose.
• Development of a lisp.
• Chewing or biting isn’t comfortable.
• The appearance of the face is distorted.

Learn more about what malocclusion (alignment issues) looks like.

Why does malocclusion matter?

Minor alignment issues can make teeth more prone to getting cavities. More severe cases usually require orthodontic care, and not just because of appearance. Breathing and eating are everyday activities, and any difficulties caused by bad alignment can affect quality of life. Furthermore, a lisp can be difficult to deal with as we enter adulthood.

But beside these things, alignment issues can cause discomfort or pain. And alignment can worsen over time, meaning that discomfort and pain levels may increase.