In dentistry, your occlusion basically refers to how your teeth come together. Occlusion is defined as the contact between the maxillary and mandibular teeth in any functional position.
The classification of the bite can be divided into three main categories.
These are known as Class I, Class II and Class III.
This classification helps us understand the position of our first molars and how our upper jaw fits into our lower one. Analysing our jaw position helps orthodontists diagnose any skeletal discrepancies which need to be fixed for our smile to function well.
Malocclusions can cause many issues, including tooth wear, speech problems and jaw joint pain (TMJ) if left untreated.
Class 1 malocclusion is what dentists refer to as an overlap of upper teeth over the lower teeth. This is often due to prolonged bottle use or thumb sucking during early childhood. The good news is that in most cases, the consequences aren’t that serious, and if treated on time, Class 1 malocclusions do not leave permanent damage. We tend to fix them by making use of special appliances, which gradually expand the upper jaw and make space for the teeth to erupt properly. Later stages of the straightening process might involve different kinds of appliances or braces based on individual patient cases.
Class II malocclusion also represents a jaw position where the upper teeth stick out over the lower teeth. However, in this case, the shift is severe enough to cause significant damage to the aesthetics and functionality of a smile. This type of malocclusion needs early orthodontic intervention, and alignment usually takes longer to achieve.
There are two main divisions of a Class II malocclusion. In the first one, the tooth’s position shifts towards the lips. In the second one, your upper central incisors move towards the tongue.
Class 3 malocclusion is an underbite where the lower teeth stick out further ahead than your upper jaw. Crossbite is also considered a type of class III malocclusion, where some upper teeth and some lower teeth overlap each other.
If you’re worried about the alignment of your or your child’s jaw, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will create a personalised treatment plan, explaining the process step by step.