Dental Problems

Malocclusion of Teeth – What Causes Malocclusion of Teeth?

Malocclusion of TeethMalocclusion of teeth is a condition where there is misalignment between the teeth of two dental arches. The word Malocclusion refers to the manner in which one dental arch meets the opposing arch. A typical malocclusion appears as shown in the figure. In this article, we shall know what are the causes of malocclusion of teeth.

Normally, all teeth in upper arch fit slightly over the teeth in lower arch. The points of the molars and the grooves of the opposite molar fit in each other. The upper teeth arch is slightly over the lower teeth arch to keep the cheeks and lips from being bitten from lower teeth. At the same time the lower teeth arch is little behind to protect the tongue. Malocclusion is a condition where there is some variation from this condition.

Malocclusion is mostly hereditary , that is a condition that is passed down through families. The difference in the size of the upper and lower jaws result in overcrowding of the teeth causing malocclusion.

Other causes of malocclusion are:

  • Birth defect conditions such as cleft lip and palate
  • Childhood habits such as tongue thrusting, thumb sucking and prolonged use of a bottle
  • Teeth abnormalities such as extra teeth, impacted teeth, lost teeth, or abnormally shaped teeth
  • Trauma or injury to the jaws
  • Misalignment of teeth after an injury or surgery of the jaws
  • Usage of ill-fitting dental crowns, fillings, retainers, appliances or braces
  • Tumors of the mouth and jaw

Malocclusion can be caused by crowding of the teeth. Teeth are crowded as a result of mouth-breathing or early loss of deciduous (milk or baby) teeth.

Note: The term Malocclusion is coined by Edward Angle, the father of modern orthodontics. Malocclusions are also thought as result of other conditions such as skeletal disharmony of the face. In skeletal disharmony of face there is problem with upper and lower jaws which do not meet appropriately.

You can get more information about the classification, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of malocclusion in related articles on this site.

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