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Mal - occlusion literally means "bad bite." A bad bite can be caused by several factors:

  • Heredity - Both parents may have "perfect" teeth, but if a child inherits a small jaw from one parent and large teeth from the other, the result most likely will be crowding of the teeth requiring Orthodontics.
  • Missing Teeth - If missing permanent teeth are not replaced with implants, a bridge, or a partial denture, the adjacent teeth can "tip" into the empty space and the opposing teeth can "super-erupt." Primary (baby) teeth that are prematurely lost due to decay or injury sometimes necessitate the use of a spacer to keep the surrounding teeth growing straight until the permanent tooth erupts to replace the missing tooth.
  • Grinding teeth (bruxism) - Severe cases of bruxism can change the occlusion.

Left untreated, a malocclusion not only affects the patient's appearance, it can also lead to TMJ problems and an increased risk of decay and gum disease.

Your dentistevaluates each individual case to determine the best course of action to prevent or cure the malocclusion. Visit our Orthodontics page to learn more about how early detection of malocclusions in children and the use of arch expanders can reduce and sometimes eliminate the need for braces!