What Is Dental Malocclusion?
Dental malocclusion is an orthodontic condition that occurs when the upper and lower teeth or jaws do not align properly. This may impact Harker Heights, TX patients of all ages and can lead to a range of oral and functional concerns, such as crooked or overcrowded teeth, an overbite or underbite, and additional dental problems. Without professional treatment, dental malocclusion can heighten the chance of dental cavities, periodontal problems, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, and even sleep disorders. The experienced general dentists at ACE Dental of Harker Heights offer their expertise and skill in diagnosing dental malocclusion and can recommend orthodontic solutions to improve tooth alignment and enhance oral function. If you or your child may have dental malocclusion, please reserve a visit with our caring team.
In general, dental occlusion (how the upper and lower teeth fit when biting together) is observed in three distinct categories. These include:
- Class I is generally considered as "normal" and is the relationship toward which orthodontic treatment strives to achieve. With this type of occlusion, the top arch of teeth overlaps the bottom arch in a balanced, proportional way.
- Class II occlusion describes a relationship where the top teeth and jaw significantly overlap the lower teeth, causing the chin and bottom jaw to have a receded appearance.
- Class III occurs when the lower jaw and chin jut out in the facial profile and overlap the top teeth and jaw.
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What Are Signs of Dental Malocclusion?
Children, teenagers, and adults may all be affected by dental malocclusion conditions, which are commonly identified as an overbite, crossbite, underbite, and open bite. Other signs of malocclusion include narrow dental arches, crooked or crowded teeth, turned or rotated teeth, and misaligned teeth. Factors like genetics, teeth grinding, oral trauma, and thumb-sucking may contribute to or worsen dental malocclusion. When the teeth are poorly aligned, oral conditions, such as worn or chipped teeth, speech problems, and difficulty when biting or chewing, may result. Apart from making oral hygiene more difficult, and increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease, these issues may also contribute to sleep apnea and TMJ problems.
How Is Dental Malocclusion Treated?
Treatment for dental malocclusion often includes some form of orthodontic therapy, which might involve wearing clear teeth aligners, traditional braces, retainers, or other dental appliances. Some patients who have severe crowding may need to have a few teeth extracted before wearing braces. To evaluate dental malocclusion, we will take advanced 3D cone beam images of your jaw to gain a greater understanding of your condition and provide appropriate treatment recommendations. The dentists at ACE Dental of Harker Heights are pleased to offer orthodontic care with Invisalign and Invisalign Teen and may collaborate with another specialist to meet your family's treatment needs. In cases of severe jaw misalignment, a surgical approach may be recommended to help improve oral function and appearance.
Following Treatment for Malocclusion
The treatment process for bringing the teeth and jaws into proper alignment may be carried out over a few months or years. Once the treatment goals have been achieved, a permanent or removable retainer may be recommended to help hold the teeth in place. During the treatment process, and after your care is complete, it is important to keep up with good oral hygiene on a daily basis. Our Harker Heights, TX team will continue to track your treatment progress and overall oral health when you visit for regular dental checkups.
Insurance Coverage for Your Care
Coverage for orthodontics and other treatments for dental malocclusion tend to vary, depending on the insurance plan and provider. Once your treatment plan is determined, our billing team will review your insurance benefits and help you determine any out-of-pocket costs. ACE Dental of Harker Heights strives to make dental care accessible to all patients and is pleased to accept a range of affordable payment solutions. We can also help you explore budget-friendly options, such as special patient financing.
Treat Misaligned Teeth With Personalized Care
Crowded teeth, a misaligned bite, and other forms of dental malocclusion can have an impact on the health of your family's smiles. The skilled dentists at ACE Dental of Harker Heights can diagnose these conditions and provide personalized treatment recommendations to improve oral function and appearance. If you or your child may have misaligned teeth, please get in touch with our Harker Heights, TX practice to schedule a treatment consultation.