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  • Hamden, CT - 2200 Whitney Avenue suite 250 06518
  • Orange, CT - 291 S. Lambert Road 06477
  • 203 288-7273 | Hamden, CT - 2200 Whitney Avenue suite 250
  • 203 795-8778 | Orange, CT - 291 S. Lambert Road

What is a Malocclusion?

A malocclusion is an incorrect relationship between the maxilla (upper arch) and the mandible (lower arch), or a general misalignment of the teeth.  Malocclusions are so common that most individuals experience one, to some degree.  The poor alignment of the teeth is thought to be a result of genetic factors combined with poor oral habits, or other factors in the early years.

Moderate malocclusion commonly requires treatment by an orthodontist.  Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment of malocclusions and other facial irregularities.

The following are three main classifications of malocclusion:

  • Class I – The occlusion is typical, but there are spacing or overcrowding problems with the other teeth.

  • Class II – The malocclusion is an overbite (the upper teeth are positioned further forward than the lower teeth).  This can be caused by the protrusion of anterior teeth or the overlapping of the central teeth by the lateral teeth.

  • Class III – Prognathism (also known as “underbite”) is a malocclusion caused by the lower teeth being positioned further forward than the upper teeth.  An underbite usually occurs when the jawbone is large or the maxillary bone is short.

Reasons for treating a malocclusion

A severe malocclusion may lead to skeletal disharmony of the lower face.  In a more extreme case, the orthodontist may work in combination with a maxillofacial dentist to reconstruct the jaw.  It is never too late to seek treatment for a malocclusion.  Children and adults alike have completed orthodontic realignment procedures and have been delighted with the resulting even, straight smile.

Here are some of the main reasons to seek orthodontic treatment for a malocclusion:

  • Reduced risk of tooth decay – A malocclusion often causes an uneven wear pattern on the teeth.  The constant wearing of the same teeth can lead to tooth erosion and decay.

  • Better oral hygiene – A malocclusion can be caused by overcrowding.  When too many teeth are competing for too little space, it can be difficult to clean the teeth and gums effectively.  It is much easier to clean straight teeth that are properly aligned.

  • Reduced risk of TMJ – Temporomandibular jaw syndrome (TMJ) is thought to be caused by a malocclusion.  Headaches, facial pains and grinding teeth during sleep all result from the excessive pressure to the temporomandibular joint.  Realigning the teeth reduces pressure, and eliminates these symptoms.

How is a malocclusion treated?

A malocclusion is usually treated with dental braces.  The orthodontist takes panoramic x-rays, conducts visual examinations and bite impressions of the whole mouth before deciding on the best course of treatment.  If a malocclusion is obviously caused by overcrowding, the orthodontist may decide an extraction is the only way to create enough space for the realignment.  However, in the case of an underbite, crossbite or overbite, there are several different orthodontic appliances available, such as:

  • Fixed multibracket braces – This type of dental braces consists of brackets cemented to each tooth, and an archwire that connects each one.  The orthodontist adjusts or changes the wire on a regular basis to train the teeth into proper alignment.

  • Removable devices – There are many non-fixed dental braces available to treat a malocclusion.  Retainers, headgear and palate expanders are amongst the most common.  Retainers are generally used to hold the teeth in the correct position whilst the jawbone grows properly around them.

  • Invisalign® – These dental aligners are removable and invisible to the naked eye.  Invisalign works in much the same way as fixed dental braces, but do not impact the aesthetics of the smile.  Not all patients are candidates for Invisalign®.

If you have any questions about malocclusions, please contact our office.

Testimonials

I want to thank you for recommending Invisalign braces when I first visited your office 14 months ago. My dentist highly recommended you since one of your specialties is adult orthodontics. It has been such a positive, easy experience using the clear aligners and I am thrilled with my new beautiful, straight teeth. You cannot imagine the additional self-confidence it has given me.

As you know, work in sales and marketing and I am in my late 50's. For years I have wanted to straighten my teeth because I was always self conscience of my teeth. I wish I had visited your office years ago because the process of the removable, Invisalign aligners allowed me to continue to transact business and enjoy social activities with people no realizing I was wearing braces.

All of your office staff was so professioal and accommodating with appointments, and I want to thank you personally for the dental guidance and encouragement you have given me. You have literally changed my life and I wish I had decided to do this procedure years ago.

L. L.

Dr. Schpero is absolutely amazing. The experience from start to finish has been seamless, and dare I say-painless?! Dr. Schpero is the consummate professional, making sure that I understood each step and answering any questions or concerns that I had. I could see an improvement in my teeth almost immediately, and, now that my braces are off, I cannot tell you how happy I am with how my teeth look. I would recommend Dr. Schpero to anyone, and thoughly enjoyed my entire experience with him and all of his staff. Thank you so much, I will actually miss seeing you and your staff on a monthly basis!

M.F.

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