Malocclusion, more commonly known as misaligned teeth, is an oral condition that affects a number of people, both young and old. Misaligned teeth are defined as teeth that have an uneven fit between the lower and upper rows or teeth that are overly crowded. While most people only see this as a cosmetic issue, it's an oral health issue that needs to be reviewed by a dental professional.
One of the most significant problems that misaligned teeth can cause is an increased risk of developing dental issues like gingivitis, cavities and tooth decay. The reason your risk is increased with this condition is that the spacing between your teeth makes it more difficult to get between your teeth to clean them when brushing.
When you aren't able to remove food particles and bacteria, you put your teeth at risk. Your risk of chipping a tooth is also increased. Teeth that are uneven often bump into one another when chewing. Over time, this can significantly increase the chance of you chipping or cracking one of your teeth.
Misaligned teeth can occur for a number of different reasons. However, the most common reason can be attributed to your genes. Misaligned teeth can sometimes be an inherited trait, much like the color of your hair or eyes.
This condition can also arise if you lost or had an adult tooth removed when you were young because the missing tooth can cause the other teeth to grow in crooked. People that suck their thumbs or children who drank from a bottle for many years are also at a greater risk of developing misaligned teeth.
The first step for treatment of misaligned teeth is finding out the cause. For example, if the reason for an adult's misaligned teeth is thumb sucking, the issue has to be tackled first. Otherwise, the treatment will be ineffective. After the cause has been pinpointed and addressed, a retainer is a common treatment method used.
Retainers work by shifting and stabilizing the position of your teeth overtime. Just how bad your misalignment issue is will determine how long you need to use the retainer. If you have issues with overcrowding, you may have to have one or more of your teeth removed before you are fitted for a retainer.
If you're having problems with misaligned teeth, make visiting an orthodontist a priority. An orthodontist can help determine the cause of this issue and work on an effective treatment plan. Learn more from a local professional.