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Most cases of malocclusion are hereditary. However, certain habits that alter the alignment between the teeth and jaw can also contribute to malocclusion. Some causes include:
Oral malocclusion can be diagnosed through a routine dental exam along with X-rays. The dentist can determine if your teeth and jaw are aligned properly. If malocclusion is discovered, it will be classified by the type and severity.
There are four classifications of malocclusion. Depending on the class level, malocclusion symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include:
A cross bite occurs when any or all of the upper teeth fit into the wrong side of the lower teeth.
In people who have a misplaced midline, the front center line between the upper front teeth doesn’t match up with the center line of the lower front teeth.
Although the molars fit together in a person who has an open bite, the upper and lower front teeth don’t overlap. This creates an opening straight into the mouth. An open bite can also be present on one or both sides of the mouth.
In a person who has an excessive overbite, the upper front teeth reach too far down over the lower front teeth and, in severe cases, can cause the lower teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.
Rotation is present when a tooth turns or tips out of its normal position.
Too much or too little room for the teeth can cause spacing or crowding problems. Crowding can prevent permanent teeth from coming in properly or at all (impaction).
Transposition occurs when teeth grow (erupt) in one another’s place.
An underbite is present when the lower front teeth are farther forward than the upper front teeth.
In an upper protrusion, the upper front teeth are pushed outward (buck teeth). A small lower jaw may be the cause. Pacifier use or thumb-sucking can also create this condition by pushing the teeth outward, sometimes causing the roof of the mouth to change shape (upper palate).