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Misalignment of the Teeth

It is important that the teeth on both the upper and lower jaws are properly aligned to each other so that serious damage to the lips, cheeks and tongue is not done as well as making sure that when a person bites, the two sets of teeth do not grind against each other.

Misalignment of the teeth is also called malocclusion. Malocclusion is not uncommon. In fact, around two thirds of the population probably have some degree of malocclusion but a much smaller number of people have sufficient misalignment to justify dental treatment.

Misalignment of the teeth, or malocclusion, is also known by a number of other names such as “bad bite”. Bad bite can be over bite, under bite, crossbite, crowded teeth or open bite.

When teeth are perfectly aligned, the upper teeth should just overlap the lower teeth. The molars of each jaw should fit together so that the pointed bits on one set neatly fit into the grooves of the other. This allows proper biting, chewing and grinding during eating to take place. When teeth are misaligned, this neat fit doesn’t eventuate and so damage can result as well as poor performance.

Causes of misalignment

Misalignment can be caused by a number of different factors, some of which are genetic and others environmental, i.e. because something has happened to the person as they grew up. There isn’t much that can be done to prevent an inherited malocclusion or misalignment caused by a cleft palate. Other causes of misalignment such as excessive use of a pacifier, the use of a baby bottle after the age of three, thumb sucking and poor dental treatment can be avoided, wherever possible. Other causes of misalignment which are hard to avoid in advance are injuries to the jaw, tumours and impacted teeth.

Normally misalignment is detected early in childhood by your Burlington, Ontario dentist and the child referred to an orthodontist for adjustments to the direction in which they grow. Adults can also be treated by an orthodontist but it may take longer to correct the position of the teeth and more expensive.

Orthodontists treat misalignment with the help of