Malocclusion is a problem that causes your teeth and jaw to not line up right when you bite or chew. Examples include extra teeth, missing teeth, crooked teeth, or an overbite. It can also happen when the upper and lower jaws grow at different rates. This causes the jaws to not match each other as they should. Malocclusion is treated by a special dentist called an orthodontist. Some types of malocclusion only affect your looks. But severe types can keep you from chewing or speaking normally.
Orthodontists fix your bite by removing teeth, applying braces or other appliances, or adjusting the jaw. This is much easier in children than in adults. In adults, braces can straighten crooked teeth caused by a jaw problem. If you're an adult and your jaw needs adjusting, this is done with surgery.
Traditional braces are silver wires held on to the teeth with a wide silver band. Newer types of braces also are available. Some use clear plastic instead of silver wires. Others attach to the back of your teeth. Invisalign braces are made of clear plastic that is moulded to fit your teeth.
After braces are removed, teeth may move back to where they started. After treatment, you may need to wear a retainer for years to keep your teeth straight. You can stop wearing it when the bone gets hard next to the teeth.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.
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Current as of:
August 9, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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