Malocclusion of teeth

Alternative Names

Crowded teeth; Misaligned teeth; Crossbite; Overbite; Underbite; Open bite

Definition of Malocclusion of teeth

Malocclusion means the teeth are not aligned properly.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Occlusion refers to the alignment of teeth and the way that the upper and lower teeth fit together (bite). Ideally, all upper teeth fit slightly over the lower teeth. The points of the molars fit the grooves of the opposite molar.

Signs and tests

Most problems with teeth alignment are discovered by a dentist during a routine exam. The dentist may pull your cheek outward and ask you to bite down to check how well your back teeth come together. If there is any problem, the dentist will usually refer you to an orthodontist for diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment

Very few people have perfect teeth alignment. However, most problems are so minor that they do not require treatment.

Expectations (prognosis)

Problems with teeth alignment are easier, quicker, and less expensive to treat when they are corrected early. Treatment is most successful in children and adolescents because their bone is still soft and teeth are moved more easily. Treatment may last 6 months to 2 or more years, depending on the severity of the case.

Review

Jack D. Rosenberg, DDS, Advanced Dental Care, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, M.D., MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/22/2010

Prognathism
Teeth, adult - in the skull
Malocclusion of teeth
Dental anatomy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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