Malocclusion Types: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

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Did you know that the malocclusion market size is expected to reach $41.2 billion by 2032?

Malocclusion is a common dental condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It refers to the misalignment of the teeth and jaws. This can cause difficulty in biting, chewing, and even speaking.

There are different types of malocclusion. Each with its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

In this article, we will explore the most common malocclusion types and how they can be treated. Read on to learn more.


Understanding the various types of malocclusion is crucial for identifying the right treatment options. Here are the most common types:


Overcrowding occurs when there is not enough space in the jaw for all the teeth to fit properly. This can cause crooked or overlapping teeth. This makes it difficult to clean them effectively. Overcrowding is often caused by genetics or habits like thumb-sucking.


This type of malocclusion occurs when the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth instead of outside. This can cause misaligned jaw growth and interfere with proper chewing. It can also make the teeth wear down unevenly and cause jaw pain.


An underbite is when the lower teeth protrude further out than the upper teeth. It can lead to difficulty chewing and speaking. It can also lead to facial asymmetry.


The opposite of underbite, an overbite is when the upper teeth protrude further out than the lower teeth. This can lead to excessive wear on the lower teeth and jaw pain. It can also cause a “gummy” smile and difficulty closing the lips completely.

Open Bite

An open bite is when the upper and lower teeth do not meet when biting down. This type of malocclusion can cause speech difficulties and make it difficult to properly chew food. It can also lead to excessive wear on certain teeth and jaw pain.


Aside from the physical appearance of misaligned teeth and jaws, malocclusion can also cause a variety of symptoms. This includes:

  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Speech difficulties
  • Jaw pain or clicking
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Teeth grinding or clenching

Symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the malocclusion and the individual’s age. It’s important to consult with a dentist if any of these symptoms are present.


Malocclusion can be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some potential causes include:


Genetics plays a significant role in the development of malocclusion. If a parent or sibling has a misaligned bite, there is a higher chance for their children to also have malocclusion.

Moreover, certain genetic conditions like cleft lip and palate can also contribute to malocclusion. This is why it’s important to inform your dentist of any family history of dental issues.


Certain habits like thumb-sucking, prolonged bottle or pacifier use, and tongue thrusting can all lead to malocclusion. These habits put pressure on the teeth and jaw, causing them to shift out of alignment.

These habits can also cause the teeth and jaws to develop abnormally. This results in misalignment.

Mouth breathing

Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose can also contribute to malocclusion. This is because it affects the balance of pressure in the mouth and can cause the teeth to shift. It can also lead to a narrow upper jaw and crowded teeth.

Jaw Size Discrepancy

A discrepancy in jaw size can lead to malocclusion, where one jaw is larger or smaller than the other. This imbalance can result in underbite, overbite, or crossbite conditions.

Jaw size issues are often hereditary. They can also be affected by external factors such as early loss of baby teeth or trauma.

Trauma or Injury

Trauma to the face or jaw can lead to malocclusion by disrupting the alignment of the teeth or jawbone. Accidents or injuries can cause immediate misalignment.

It can affect the growth and development of the jaw and teeth in children. This leads to malocclusion over time.

Treatment Options

While some mild cases of malocclusion may not require treatment, moderate to severe cases should be addressed by a dentist or orthodontist. Some common treatment options include:

Dental Braces

Braces are the most common treatment for malocclusion. They use brackets, wires, and elastics to gradually move the teeth into their correct position.

The duration of treatment can vary from a few months to a few years. This depends on the severity of the malocclusion. Braces can also be customized with different colors and designs. 


Invisalign is a popular alternative to traditional braces. It uses clear aligners that are custom-made for each individual’s teeth. These aligners gradually shift the teeth into their correct position without the need for brackets or wires.

Invisalign is almost invisible. This makes it a popular choice for adults who want a more discreet option for treating malocclusion.

Jaw surgery

In some severe cases of malocclusion, jaw surgery may be necessary. This involves realigning the jaw and correcting any imbalances in the facial structure.

It is usually done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. This is to fine-tune the positioning of the teeth.


After the completion of orthodontic treatment, retainers are often used to maintain the teeth in their new position. They can be fixed or removable and are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth. Regular use of retainers is crucial to prevent teeth from gradually shifting back to their original position.

Dental Bonding

For minor corrections, dental bonding can be an option. This treatment involves the application of a tooth-colored resin material to the tooth, which is then shaped and hardened with a special light.

Bonding can correct minor gaps, chips, and shape irregularities. This makes it a suitable option for slight adjustments rather than significant malocclusions.

Whatever treatment option you choose, make sure to consult with a dental professional for the best course of action. You can check this Chicago pediatric dentist to help you with any concerns about your child’s malocclusion.

Knowing the Malocclusion Types for Effective Correction

Malocclusion is a common dental problem that can have significant impacts on oral health and overall well-being. By understanding the different malocclusion types, causes, symptoms, and treatment options, individuals can make informed decisions regarding their oral health.

It’s important to address malocclusion early on to prevent further complications and achieve a healthy and beautiful smile. So, be sure to consult with your dentist if you suspect you or your child has malocclusion. Remember, a healthy smile is a confident smile!

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