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The textbook definition of malocclusion is, “Any type of irregular contact between the upper and lower teeth when the jaw is closed.” Many people have some type of malocclusion where proper alignment is problematic. A minority of them are not severe enough to require treatment, while most others do require the expertise of an orthodontic specialist to take care of the matter.

You can tell the differing types of malocclusions by their descriptive names.

An overbite, which is the most common, is when the lower jaw is set back too far and gives the appearance of a the upper mandible and teeth protruding forward.

An underbite is just the opposite appearing that the lower jaw and teeth are too far forward, overtaking the front teeth. This type is probably the most problematic with severe instances needing jaw surgery to fix.

An open bite is the term used to describe when areas of the upper and lower teeth are unable to make physical contact with each other when the jaws are closed.

And finally, a crossbite is a lateral misalignment of the dental arches—where the teeth do not sit upon each other optimally.

The job of fixing a malocclusion is typically performed by an orthodontist, but in rare cases a specialist in maxillofacial surgery will need to operate on the jaw. Normally, braces are applied to the teeth slowly adjusted in phases.

If you have malocclusion and would like more information about treatment, call Dr. Rebecca Payne and our helpful team at Northshore Orthodontics. Phone: 985-626-0160 , or come by our office in Mandeville, Louisiana.