Two Sides to Every Smile – Orthodontist Update!

Occlusion and Malocclusion

malocclusion1-e1441208993612Good day and welcome to the very first blog post on our new site! Today’s topic is occlusion. Whether you know what occlusion is, have a basic understanding of the word, or have never heard it at all, this blog aims to clear up some of the misconceptions you may have about the condition and hopefully will guide you towards preventing occlusion before it begins!

Occlusion and Malocclusion Defined

To occlude means to close, block, or obstruct. Similarly, the dental definition refers to contact between the maxillary (most visible upper teeth) and mandibular teeth (most visible lower teeth). These words may seem obtuse, but in simpler English occlusion can be thought of as contact between upper and lower teeth. Now we’re getting somewhere! “But, wait.” You might say, “What about when I’m chewing, or when my jaw is at rest? Isn’t that occlusion as well?” You would be correct. That is occlusion, but not typically the occlusion that your orthodontist worries about! If we consider a balanced occlusion to be a good thing, then its opposite malocclusion (bad bite) is cause for concern.

As you can see from the above picture, occlusion is one of the mouth’s natural resting positions, while the examples of malocclusion are what we typically call “overbite” and “underbite” respectively. There are many different factors that can contribute to malocclusion, and unfortunately, most of them are risk factors that can either not be controlled or occur in early childhood. However, it’s never too early to start practicing preventive care with your child. Pay attention to the prolonged suckling actions of your young children, such as thumb sucking and prolonged pacifier use, as these can negatively impact adult occlusion.

Malocclusion example (www2.aofoundation.org)

Treating Malocclusion

Even with proper oral hygiene and preventive care, malocclusion can still occur. While malocclusion is not usually detrimental to health, and many Americans continue about their daily lives with some form of malocclusion, the condition can often have a negative impact on personal happiness and confidence. In fact, a recent survey by Oasis Dental Care1 found that 46% of respondents worried that “bad teeth” may hurt their chances of finding a new job. In cases such as these, it is in the patient’s best interest to contact an orthodontist.

Here at Roy Orthodontics, we have a variety of treatments to manage and eliminate occlusion that will have you feeling confident again in no time! If you are worried about occlusion for you or your children, please make an appointment and allow us to assess the situation. Even the most squeamish patients will feel comfortable under anesthetics in cases where teeth must be removed in preparation for treatment. Braces aren’t just for children anymore; if you have healthy teeth and gum structure, then braces can be a viable option in treating moderate to severe occlusion, and with our improved clear brackets, braces have never been less intrusive! Or, if you prefer something even less intrusive, then Invisalign® might be the option for you. For patients with minor to mild occlusion, Invisalign® is a nonintrusive and nearly invisible option that is very effective in properly correcting occlusion.

So whether you’ve “bad teeth” or perfect teeth, now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment for you or your children. Our team of trained professionals is ready to help you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of and will be proud to “let the first thing they see be your beautiful smile!” Please contact us at online, by phone at (757) 471-2900, or at either of our convenient Hampton Roads locations.

 

Sources

  1. hellomagazine.com Good Teeth Revealed to be Linked to Confidence Author: Unlisted (Blog Post) Retrieved from: http://us.hellomagazine.com/healthandbeauty/health-and-fitness/2014072220059/state-of-teeth-linked-to-confidence/

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