Malocclusion: All About the “Bad Bite”

Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crooked, crowded, or out of alignment. It could also mean that your child’s jaws don’t align properly. This usually becomes noticeable between the ages of six and twelve, when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. If malocclusion is not treated properly and early, it can make it difficult for kids to keep their teeth and gums clean where the teeth are crooked and crowded, which increases the risk for cavities and gum disease.

Bad bites can also:

  • Affect proper development of the jaws.
  • Make the protruding teeth at risk for chips and fractures.
  • Affect eating and speaking.
  • Make some teeth more likely to wear abnormally or faster than those that are properly aligned.

So, what’s the solution? It’s a very common part of a child’s life: braces, or some other form of orthodontic treatment to straighten out their smile. While correcting their smile is important, it is much more than that. Orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth, and could result in further oral health problems, including:

  • tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • tooth loss
  • affected speech and/or chewing
  • abnormal wear to tooth enamel
  • jaw problems

The kind of straightening that is done will depend on the judgment of your dentist or orthodontist, and preference. Since abnormal bites usually become noticeable between the ages of six and twelve, orthodontic treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14, and treatment that begins while your child is growing helps produce the best results. Most people are involved in this process from one to three years, followed by a retainer that holds teeth in their new positions.

Malocclusion might be bad, but paying attention to your child’s dental needs and regularly visiting a dentist are the best steps toward success. Contact us to schedule an appointment today to learn more about your child’s needs and keep them smiling from ear to ear.