What Is Improper Occlusion?
Dental malocclusion is defined as a misaligned bite or jaw that occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not line up in a balanced manner. This may create overcrowding, crooked teeth, or bite problems (such as underbite, overbite, or crossbite) and commonly affects the smiles of Cranston and Warwick, RI patients. Leaving dental malocclusion untreated may also increase the risk of periodontal (gum) disease, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), and in some cases, sleep disorders. At Cranston Dental Group, our team is skilled at diagnosing and treating dental malocclusion and invites you to schedule a visit to learn more about overcoming the effects of misaligned teeth or jaws.
Occlusion describes how the lower and teeth come together when biting down and is typically observed in three separate classes. Our team uses certain oral markers to evaluate how the permanent first molars and canines meet when the jaws are fully closed.
Class I is regarded as ideal or normal occlusion and is present when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth in a balanced way.
Class II occurs when the bottom jaw recedes further back in the skull, which positions the upper teeth farther forward in the mouth.
Class III occurs when the lower jaw protrudes, jutting out the chin and causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth.
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What Are the Signs of Malocclusion?
Although improper occlusion is often a genetic issue, it can also be exacerbated by teeth grinding (bruxism), tooth loss, trauma, or thumb-sucking. While these concerns can affect patients of all ages, treatment may not be ideal until the permanent teeth have fully emerged. Patients suffering from an improper bite or teeth misalignment may have difficulty speaking or eating, along with jaw or oral pain. Common signs and symptoms of dental malocclusion include:
- Crowded or crooked teeth
- Overbite, overjet, or underbite
- Open bite or crossbite
- Worn, chipped, or broken teeth
- Gum recession
- Tipped or rotated teeth
What Is the Treatment Process?
To evaluate occlusion, our team will take advanced digital or 3D oral images to fully evaluate tooth and jaw positioning along with your facial profile. The most common treatment for dental malocclusion is orthodontics. This may consist of braces, retainers, clear teeth aligners, or other types of appliances. Children, teens, and adults who have overcrowded teeth might need to have some teeth pulled before they're ready for additional therapy. If the jaw is badly misaligned, our team may recommend surgery to correctly reposition it before moving forward with orthodontic care.
Depending on your needs, treating misaligned jaws or teeth may take place over the course of a few years. you will need to utilize them for a couple of years. Choosing to treat even the least severe occlusal concerns can significantly enhance your oral function and appearance. When your treatment is complete, you might require a removable or permanent retainer to keep your teeth in the appropriate position. Maintaining good oral hygiene during and following treatment with proper home care and regular dental check-ups at Cranston Dental Group can help keep your smile healthy and in top shape over the long term.
Insurance Coverage for Treatment
Insurance coverage for dental malocclusion treatment will vary depending on the recommended procedure. Before getting started, our billing team will speak with your insurance company to help you maximize your benefits and determine any outstanding costs. Cranston Dental Group is happy to offer a selection of convenient payment options to help you achieve a healthy, functional smile without stressing about the cost, including low-interest financing through CareCredit.
Enjoy a Comfortable, Balanced Bite
Improper occlusion can cause physical and emotional concerns and may create more significant problems if it goes untreated. At Cranston Dental Group, we seek to diagnose and treat a misaligned jaw and teeth to allow you to experience a balanced and more comfortable bite. Contact our Cranston, RI office today to schedule an appointment and take one step closer to realigning your smile.