Malocclusions of the mouth are defined as a mismatched bite or misaligned jaw that can result from a poor alignment between your top and bottom teeth. Malocclusion commonly causes a combination of overcrowding, crooked or turned teeth, and/or bite problems (underbite, overbite, crossbite). Dental malocclusion is broken down into three separate degrees. The first (Class I) is the most prevalent and appears when the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth properly but the teeth are turned or rotated and biting pressure is not evenly distributed throughout the mouth. The second (Class II) is when the upper teeth and jaw excessively overlap the bottom teeth and jaw. In Class II malocclusions, often times the bottom front teeth are completely covered by the top front teeth when a person bites down. Class III occurs when the bottom jaw sticks out, causing the lower teeth to cover the upper teeth and jaw. There are a wide variety of causes for malocclusion. It can be hereditary, or malocclusion may also be caused by trauma, thumbsucking, poor retention of previous orthodontic treatment, and tooth grinding. If left untreated, dental malocclusion can cause gum recession, tooth sensitivity, and TMD/TMJ disorder. Dr. William Shattuck of Radiant Dental Care is highly skilled in the identification and diagnosis of malocclusions and offers years of experience designing treatment plans for Haslet, TX area individuals with bite conditions.
Depending on the form and seriousness of your malocclusion, Dr. Shattuck may refer you to a specialist. In the many cases, therapy will necessitate orthodontics to tackle your specific malocclusion. Sometimes treating a malocclusion is as simple as polishing the teeth to redistribute biting forces to the correct location. Other times a dental appliance commonly referred to as a night guard/splint can help alleviate the symptoms. Those that will benefit from therapies made for malocclusions are kids, teens, or adults that have malocclusions caused by poor teeth alignment.
Common symptoms of malocclusion include:
- Patients who are wearing their teeth prematurely or who frequently crack teeth and require crowns.
- Patients who experience frequent popping or clicking of their jaw when they open.
- Patients who wake up with sore teeth, a sore jaw, or headaches.
- Patients who have overly sensitive teeth when drinking cold water.
- Patients who have severe gum recession.
What to Expect
The recommended treatment for most malocclusions is usually in the form of orthodontics. Dr. Shattuck exclusively uses a combination of Invisalign aligners and Propel Accelerator therapy for malocclusion treatment due to its superior movement accuracy and comfort. Occasionally, Invisalign and Propel therapy is inadequate and a patient requires an occlusal equilibration. In these cases Dr. Shattuck takes models of your upper and lower jaw, places them in a mechanical jaw called an articulator and analyzes your bite. After careful analysis, you come back for a series of short appointments where Dr. Shattuck selectively and non-invasively reshapes your teeth using an ultra fine tooth polisher so that your teeth can function properly.
In the case that orthodontics is required, you may be in treatment for up to 2 years. After completion of your orthodontics, your custom made clear plastic retainers will be worn as you sleep at night to prevent shifting of your bite and to act as a bite splint. If your treatment requires occlusal equilibration, Dr. Shattuck will recommend night time wear of a protective appliance to maintain your bite and alleviate pressure on your jaw joint. After any type of therapy, you need to maintain regular dental examinations so that Dr. Shattuck can continue to keep an eye on your bite for changes.
The price of your treatment for dental malocclusion will vary according to the treatment required. Before beginning treatment, our billing team will contact your dental insurance company, if you have one, to inquire about your policy and the associated costs. Next, we will contact you to explain exactly what will be covered and your options for payment and medical financing opportunities.
Bite issues can be embarrassing and may lead to more significant issues if left untreated. At Radiant Dental Care, we strive to address and correct malocclusion to provide you with a straighter and more comfortable smile. Speak to or visit our office in Haslet, TX right away to set up an appointment and reach your goal of a beautifully revitalized smile.