'Malocclusion' is a word that refers to a misalignment of the teeth. Malocclusions can cause many serious oral health issues, and are generally caused by either inherited and behavioural factors.
There are many different kinds of malocclusions, including overbite, crowded teeth, underbite, crossbite and open bite. All of them can cause the teeth perform their eating and speaking functions incorrectly, and can inhibit the patient’s ability to breathe normally in some cases.
So what actually causes malocclusion? Can it be prevented?
More often than not, malocclusion is an inherited condition. In many cases, it can’t really be prevented. But if it's caught early on, it can be treated, thereby keeping the problem from becoming more serious over time.
Malocclusion can sometimes also result from certain conditions or habits that can be prevented or curtailed. If these are dealt with early enough, then malocclusion can be largely avoided. Some examples of these issues include:
- injuries resulting in jaw misalignment
- frequent pacifier use past the page of 3
- thumb sucking past the age of 3
- poor dental care resulting in tooth loss
- prolonged bottle feeding
If the above problems are nipped in the bud early enough, the malocclusion that might otherwise result can be avoided.