What is occlusion?

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Houston, Texas

Normal Bite is an Occlusion

The normal bite is called occlusion, it is when the upper and lower teeth “bite together” forming proper alignment. Malocclusion on the other hand literally translates to “bad bite” which means the bite is not properly aligned. There are three classifications of bites which are based on how the first molars bite together.

3 Types of Occlusions

Class I

This refers to the balanced bite or when the upper teeth are aligned with the lower teeth but there may be a problem with crooked teeth, under or over eruption, open bite, impacted teeth, missing teeth, crowding and spacing. Orthodontics can usually fix this by using braces and/or retainers. For the missing teeth, dental implant, fixed bridge or veneers are some of the options.

Class II

This is also known as an overjet or when the lower first molar is more towards the back than the upper first molar. Because this is a type of malocclusion, which means there is an abnormal relationship between upper and lower first molars,  the upper teeth and jaw protrudes more forward than the lower teeth and jaw. Either the upper jaw is overdeveloped, the lower jaw is underdeveloped or a combination of both. If the overjet is very slight, orthodontics may be enough to fix the problem. However, in this class, the cause is usually genetics, which can be aggravated by finger sucking. This can be fixed by a combination of surgery or growth redirection and orthodontics to put in proper alignment the upper and lower teeth and jaws. In some cases, teeth may have to be removed.

Class III

This is when the upper first molar is more towards the back than the lower first molar. This is sometimes called underbite or negative overjet. This malocclusion is characterized by the lower teeth and jaw protruding forward than the upper teeth and jaw. This may be caused by underdeveloped upper jaw, overdeveloped lower jaw or a combination of both. Like Class II, the cause of this could be genetic. Surgery and orthodontics can help properly align the upper teeth and jaw with the lower teeth and jaw.

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