Few of us have ideal dental occlusion, but if your occlusion differs notably from the norm, you should have it fixed. Even and straight teeth are also typically considered beautiful.
In an ideal occlusion, both the upper and lower teeth form an evenly arched line that has no holes in it. The upper teeth form a slightly larger arch compared to the lower teeth. When you bite your teeth together, your lower teeth should touch your upper teeth and the upper front teeth should cover the lower front teeth by a few millimetres. The centre of both the upper and lower front teeth should be symmetrical with the centre of your face.
A displaced centre line, minor tightness or holes are seldom a functional or an aesthetic problem. If the deviation from the ideal occlusion is big or feels embarrassing, orthodontics can solve the problem.
Malocclusion can cause a number of symptoms, from facial pain to clicking of the temporomandibular joint and difficulties with chewing food.
What causes malocclusion ?
Often, malocclusion is genetic. The contemporary lifestyle and environment also play a role in the formation of malocclusion. Our food is more refined than in the past, which means we do not need to bite and chew as hard as before.
As allergies and air-borne impurities have become more common, many prefer breathing through the mouth instead of the nose. When we breath through our mouths, the tongue is not in its right place resting against the palate. This results in a narrower upper jaw.
Prolonged finger sucking or pacifier use in childhood can also expose to malocclusion.
Stress tends to increase grinding at night, also known as bruxism. Up to half of the population suffer from occlusion problems at some point of their lives. Malocclusion affects all age groups, women, in particular.
The most common form of treatment of malocclusion is an occlusal splint.