Malocclusion is the official term for a misalignment of your teeth and bite. Although it’s probably not a word you’ll hear very often (unless you hang out with orthodontists!).
There are different types of malocclusions, from crooked teeth to overbites – and they’re not all mutually exclusive.
Here is a guide to the malocclusions that we see and straighten for our patients on a regular basis.
Overcrowding is very common and it’s often caused by a lack of space, resulting in teeth that are crooked and overlap. It’s the most common reason for orthodontic treatment among adults.
An overjet is where your top teeth extend past your bottom teeth horizontally (not to be confused with an overbite). Protruding teeth can risk damage and cause problems with eating and speech.
While there should be some overlap of your lower front teeth, in some cases an increased overbite can cause your front teeth to bite down onto your gums.
A crossbite is where your upper teeth bite inside your lower teeth. In can happen on one or both sides of your jaw and it can affect your front or back teeth.
Anterior crossbite (underbite)
A crossbite that affects the front teeth is known as an anterior crossbite, or perhaps more commonly as an underbite.
Spacing can occur between two or more teeth. Some of the causes can include missing teeth, small teeth, tongue thrusting and thumb sucking.
A diastema is a space between two teeth, usually the front teeth. Madonna and model Lara Stone famously both have diastemas.
An impacted tooth is one that’s unable to erupt through the gum normally. Possible treatments include removing the tooth, or exposing it so that a brace can be fitted.
Missing teeth, or hypodontia, can occur as a result of teeth not developing properly or through trauma.
An open bite is where the front teeth don’t overlap the lower teeth. An open bite affecting the front teeth is known as an anterior open bite.