What is Malocclusion

Orthodontics is not just for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad or irregular bites known technically as malocclusions. Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth and/or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth, can affect your speech, the appearance of the smile, and how you feel about your smile.

Malocclusions (bad bites) Should Be Treated! According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:

  • Crowded, overlapping teeth are more difficult to properly brush, floss, and keep clean which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental trauma, chipping, and fracture.
  • Crossbites and/or underbites (reverse overlap of teeth) can result in unfavorable, asymmetric jaw/facial growth and uneven tooth wear.
  • Openbites (lack of vertical overlap of front or back teeth) can result in tongue-thrusting habits, speech impediments, and excessive, uneven tooth wear.
  • If left untreated, many of these conditions later may require surgery or very extensive treatment to correct.

Ultimately, orthodontics gives you more than a beautiful, straight smile — it improves your overall oral health!

Some of the common malocclusions/conditions treated with orthodontics:


OVERJET - protruding upper front teeth ("Overbite")


UNDERBITE - upper front teeth bite behind the lower (protruding lower teeth)


CROWDING - not enough space for upper and/or lower teeth


EXCESS SPACE between the upper and/or lower teeth


CROSSBITE - upper back (or front) teeth bite inside the lowers(reverse overlap of back or front teeth)


OPEN-BITE - lack of overlap between front (or back) teeth


MID-LINE MISALIGNMENT - the middle of upper and lower teeth don't line up


DEEP BITE - upper front teeth cover too much of lower front teeth


*diagrams are a courtesy of OREC Professional Marketing Systems - http://www.orec.com