Your teeth are a vital part of your body’s ability to digest food, so when they’re not healthy, it can lead to more problems than you want. One of the reasons that your teeth may not work perfectly is because they’re misaligned. This is what’s known as malocclusion.
At Duval Orthodontics, our team helps you with all of your dental needs. Dr. J.A. Duval is our orthodontic specialist who helps you figure out the right treatment for your misaligned teeth.
Your teeth are meant to fit together perfectly, whether you’re smiling or chewing on your food. Your top set of teeth needs to come down just in front of your bottom set of teeth for this to happen. Also, your molars should fit perfectly between the opposite set of molars, making just the right fit.
However, perfectly aligned teeth aren’t always a given. When your teeth don’t line up properly in your mouth, it’s known as malocclusion.
So why is teeth alignment so important? Well-aligned teeth are most often coveted for cosmetic reasons — meaning you want your smile to look nice in your pictures or when you meet someone for the first time.
However, teeth alignment is also crucial to your overall dental health. Misaligned teeth can lead to problems with chewing and make it more challenging to keep your teeth clean and free of debris.
So how do you know if you have a malocclusion? It may be obvious if you can tell that your teeth are aligned properly. However, other signs of malocclusion in your teeth include:
- Discomfort when you bite or chew
- Changes in your speech
- Mouth breathing instead of nose breathing
- Facial changes due to misalignment
- Biting your teeth or tongue
If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, it’s likely that your teeth are misaligned. It’s important that you see Dr. Duval if you’re having these issues so that you can get prompt treatment.
What causes malocclusions?
Malocclusions can be caused by many different conditions. However, many times, they’re an inherited disorder, meaning it’s passed down from your mom or dad. Other reasons that you may have a malocclusion include:
- Thumb sucking as a child
- Pacifier use after the age of 3
- Long-term bottle feeding as a child
- Cleft palate or lip
- Injuries to your jaw
- Impacted teeth
- Improper dental care
If your teeth are overcrowded, or you have extra teeth, you could end up with malocclusion as well. Many times, malocclusions begin when you’re young and continue into adulthood. You must get treated for this condition as soon as possible to prevent dental issues down the road.
Treatment for this condition
Once Dr. Duval determines that you’re dealing with a malocclusion, he offers you several different treatment options, depending on the severity and cause of the problem.
Orthodontic treatment is often the line of treatment that’s suggested first by Dr. Duval. This not only includes braces, but clear aligners and retainers as well. These appliances help to guide your teeth back into proper alignment over time.
In some cases, though, you may have extra teeth that are causing the malocclusion. In this case, it’s usually necessary to remove the excess teeth for you to get properly aligned teeth.
In cases where your jaw is the cause of the problem, surgery may be required to correct the defect. This could be due to a congenital disability or an injury that displaced your jaw bone. This is the last resort, usually, because of the risks associated with surgical procedures.
Depending on the severity of the malocclusion you’re dealing with, it may take months to years to correct it properly. Dr. Duval gives you the exact timeline as you progress through your treatment.
Don’t continue to let your misaligned teeth cause you problems. You can call our office for an appointment at one of our two convenient locations in Albany and Warner Robins, Georgia. You can also book an appointment online using our convenient scheduling tool on our website.