What is malocculsion?

Posted on Feb 17, 2021 in News

Dr Moira Wong, a leading orthodontist, explains what malocclusion is and why you should seek dental help for it.

What is malocclusion and why is it bad for my teeth?

Malocclusion is simply a misalignment between the upper and lower teeth. This can be caused by the teeth being in the wrong position alone or both the teeth and the jaws being in the incorrect arrangement. This misalignment can result in crooked, crowded or protruding teeth. It can also lead to gum problems, headaches and even sleep problems.

Malocclusion may also be referred to as crowded teeth, cross bite, overbite, underbite or open bite.

What are the most common types of malocclusion?

There are three main types of malocclusion:

  1. Class I is where the teeth are at fault only. This can range from crowding to crossbites which can prevent the jaw closing centrally, so the centrelines of the teeth are in the wrong position.
  2. Class II is where the teeth and the jaws are at fault. Usually the lower jaw is set back too far and there is an increased distance between the upper and lower teeth. Sometimes these are referred to as “buck teeth.”
  3. Class III is where there is a discrepancy in the teeth and jaws such that the lower jaw is prominent relative to the upper jaw.

How can malocclusion be treated?

Treatment is dependent on how much the teeth contribute to the malocclusion and how much the jaws contribute to the malocclusion. If it is teeth only then the malocclusion can be corrected with a variety of different braces. If the jaws are contributing, then the decision needs to be made as to whether we move the teeth in a position to compensate for the jaw malposition or whether we aim to correct the jaw position.

For cases of malocclusion in children, we can utilise their growth to enhance jaw correction. In adults where there is no potential for growth, the jaw malposition is corrected surgically. Although this sounds daunting at first, the results are somewhat spectacular and life changing, when carried out correctly by experienced orthodontists and surgical teams.

Can malocclusion be treated easily in adulthood?

As long as the correct diagnosis is made in the beginning, treatment in adulthood is no more complicated than treating during childhood in experienced hands that have undergone the appropriate training.

If you are concerned about your teeth, make an appointment with a specialist.

If you have dental concerns, please make an appointment with us.
Dr. Moira Wong – Orthodontist

An exceptionally skilled orthodontist who simply loves to improve the smiles of adults and children.

Dr Moira Wong (GDC no: 67960, UK) developed an ambition to specialise in the field of orthodontics during her time as a dentistry student at the London Hospital Medical College. After graduating in 1994, she gained experience in all fields of dentistry prior to specialisation. This included working as part of the Pennstar trauma team at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Wong’s career pathway began with a spell as a house officer in prosthetic dentistry at the Royal London Hospital, followed by senior house officer positions at the Bristol Dental Hospital. During this period she gained her fellowship in dental surgery and worked in the paediatric dentistry department, treating special needs children and addressing complicated developmental problems. She also worked with adults requiring the replacement of multiple teeth.

Returning to London to take up a position as a senior house officer in oral surgery, Dr Wong gained experience in dental and facial surgery. One of her busiest nights was helping with the suturing of patients following a national rail crash.

Dr Wong was then accepted onto the specialty training programme at Guy’s Hospital, where she spent a further three years gaining her master’s degree. She continued onto a consultant training programme at King’s College and St George’s Hospital, gaining her Fellowship in orthodontics. Currently less than 300 UK practitioners have this level of training, with just 5 to 10 people gaining the accreditation in an average year.

Today, Dr Wong has acquired an excellent reputation for her highly sophisticated work and approachable, communicative manner. Her ambition is to be recognised as nothing less than the best orthodontist in London.