Teeth that are naturally
perfectly aligned are rare. A poor fit and alignment of the teeth (malocclusion ) can range from mild to severe. Mild
malocclusion causes no medical or functional problems
and little cosmetic concern. But severe malocclusion may cause difficulty
with eating and speaking. Some people are embarrassed or self-conscious about
crooked or protruding teeth.
Crowding is the most common type of
malocclusion. In children, early crowding of permanent teeth can prevent new
teeth from coming in properly or from erupting at all (impaction).
types of malocclusion may improve as a child's jaw grows and changes. But
there are many conditions that don't improve without treatment. These usually
involve the size or position of the jaw (such as an
underbite or an unusually narrow lower jaw).
With or without orthodontic treatment, the teeth have a normal tendency
to slowly drift toward the front of the jaw. This may lead to crowded lower
front teeth (incisors).
A poor bite doesn't usually cause
gum (periodontal) disease, or
temporomandibular (TMD) disorder. But teeth that are
aligned properly are easier to keep clean.