Malocclusion means having crooked teeth or a "poor
Orthodontic treatment can correct the way teeth and jaws
line up. Dentists who are specially trained to correct malocclusion are called
orthodontists. They use a variety of treatment tools and techniques (including
braces ) to move teeth, and sometimes the jaw, into the right places.
A common cause of malocclusionis teeth that have too much or too little room in the jaw.
If children have a small jaw, their teeth may grow into a space that is too
small. As a result, teeth may grow or drift out of place.
Other causes of crooked teeth include thumb-sucking,
pacifier use, and tooth loss.
What are the
The most obvious sign is teeth that are crooked or stick
out. Malocclusion can range from mild to severe. Most of the time, having
crooked teeth is only a cosmetic problem, meaning people don't like the way
their teeth look. But in severe cases, it can cause problems with eating or
How is malocclusion
A dentist usually checks for malocclusion in children during
regular dental visits. If the jaw or teeth are out of line, the dentist may
suggest a visit to an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists
recommends that all children get a checkup with an orthodontist by age 7.
An orthodontist will:
Ask questions about your or your child's past health
Check the mouth and teeth.
Take X-rays of the face and teeth.
Take photographs of the face and teeth.
Make a plaster model of the teeth.
Start your child’s trips to the dentist at age 12 months.
This will help your child get used to seeing a dentist. It will also catch any
early problems. Keep up with regular dental checkups 2 times a year.
How is it treated?
In children and teens, the first step in treatment may be to
take out certain teeth to make room for teeth that may still grow in.
The next step is to attach braces to teeth to straighten out
the bite . In addition to straightening teeth, braces can help move a child’s
jaw into the right position.
Teeth tend to move forward as you age, even after treatment
with braces. Retainersare devices
you wear in your mouth to keep your teeth from moving. Some people need to use
retainers for many years after treatment.
Adults can successfully straighten their teeth with braces.
But the only way to straighten an adult’s jaw is with surgery.
Braces and other types of orthodontic treatment cost a lot.
Most insurance plans don't pay for them. Before you start treatment, make sure
you know how much it will cost and how you will pay for it.
We all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths and
digest food. Saliva also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi
in the mouth. When we don't produce enough saliva, our mouth gets dry and
uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for dry mouth.
What Causes Dry
There are several causes of dry mouth, also called
xerostomia. These include:
Side effect of
certain medications. Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription
and nonprescription drugs, including drugs used to treat depression, anxiety,
pain, allergies, and colds (antihistamines and decongestants), obesity, acne,
epilepsy, hypertension (diuretics), diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders,
urinary incontinence, asthma (certain bronchodilators), and Parkinson's
disease. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of muscle relaxants and sedatives.
Side effect of
certain diseases and infections. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medical
conditions, including Sjögren's syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer's disease,
diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension,
Parkinson's disease, stroke, and mumps.
Side effect of
certain medical treatments. Damage to the salivary glands, the glands that
produce saliva, for example, from radiation to the head and neck and
chemotherapy treatments for cancer, can reduce the amount of saliva produced.
Nerve damage .
Dry mouth can be a result of nerve damage to the head and neck area from an
injury or surgery.
Conditions that lead to dehydration, such as fever, excessive sweating,
vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, and burns can cause dry mouth.
Surgical removal of
the salivary glands.
Smoking or chewing tobacco can affect saliva production and aggravate dry
mouth. Continuously breathing with your mouth open can also contribute to the