Malocclusion or abnormal occlusion is the clinical term for misaligned teeth that can lead to oral health complications like overbite, underbite, crossbite, openbite, and overcrowding. As the teeth are misaligned, it becomes difficult to perform vital oral functions like mastication or chewing, biting and speaking but an orthodontist is specially trained in treating all types of malocclusions and can effectively correct the way your teeth line up or are arranged in the jaw.

Main Classification Of Malocclusion

Class 1 Malocclusion

Class 1 malocclusion is an overlap of upper teeth over the lower teeth in both the jaws. It happens due to prolonged bottle use for feeding or thumb sucking habit in childhood. But it doesn’t affect your bite very drastically and can be fixed with minor malocclusion treatment.

Class 1 malocclusion of teeth has 3 types

Type 1

In type 1 malocclusion, the teeth lean towards the tongue.

Type 2

In type 2 malocclusion, the lower teeth are angled towards the tongue, and upper teeth stick out in the narrow arches.

Type 3

In type 3 of malocclusion, the upper teeth are crowded, and they lean towards the tongue.

Class 2 Malocclusion

In class 2, malocclusion also the upper teeth stick out over lower teeth. But this malocclusion of teeth is severe enough to affect the bite significantly. It needs early orthodontic intervention, and it may take time for malocclusion treatment to correct the alignment of your teeth. But this dental problem can be permanently treated or resolved.

Class 2 malocclusion has 2 divisions.

Division 1

In division 1 upper teeth lean towards the lips.

Division 2

In division 2, the upper central incisors lean towards the tongue.

Class 3 Malocclusion

Class 3 malocclusion is a type of underbite where the lower teeth stick out over the upper teeth. However, it can be a crossbite also when some upper teeth and some lower teeth overlap each other.

Class 3 malocclusion is divided into 3 types based on the alignment of the teeth.

Type 1

In type 1 malocclusion, teeth form an abnormally shaped arch.

Type 2

In type 2 malocclusion of teeth, the lower front teeth are angled towards the tongue.

Type 3

in type 3 malocclusion, the upper arch is abnormal and upper teeth are angled towards the tongue.

Other Types Of Malocclusion


Overcrowding is a very common condition typically caused due to lack of space due to small jaws and large teeth material resulting from overlapping or crooked teeth.


When there is too much space for the teeth due to large jaws and small teeth material, it results in spacing between the teeth.


When the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap each other, it results in the formation of an opening that leads straight into the mouth. The problem of an open bite can also occur on the sides of the mouth also due to tongue thrusting habit.


An overjet is when the top front teeth extend beyond the lower front teeth horizontally, interfering with the functions of chewing food, speaking, and etc.


Some overlapping of the lower front teeth is natural but when the upper front teeth are biting down right into the gums which can damage the gums, an increased overbite is caused where the lower front teeth can also bite into the roof of the mouth.


When the lower front teeth are positioned far forward than the upper front teeth, it results in an underbite which is also known as anterior crossbite it can lead to various occlusal problems.


A crossbite can happen on either or both the sides of the jaw when the upper front teeth are biting right inside the lower teeth. The condition can also affect your front or back teeth and it is also called as scissor bite.


Diastema refers to the space between two adjacent teeth, usually the upper front teeth or upper incisors.

Impacted Tooth

An impacted tooth is the one that cannot erupt from the gum naturally and needs to be extracted or exposed so that a brace can be fitted to correct it.

Missing tooth

Also known as hypdontia, this condition occurs as a result of trauma or improper development of teeth in the early stages.

Causes Of Malocclusion

  • Tooth loss due to various causes

  • Prolonged use of pacifier in childrens

  • Thumb sucking habit

  • Cleft lip and cleft palate

  • Injuries and trauma to the teeth

  • Tumors of the oral cavity

  • prolonged bottle feeding

  • Impacted tooth

  • Lack of oral hygiene

  • Airway obstructed by enlarged adenoids or allergies in childrens

Symptoms of Malocclusion

Depending on the type of malocclusion, the symptoms may be may be mild, moderate or severe. Common symptoms include:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Discomfort when biting or chewing food
  • Speech problems
  • Difficulty in breathing through the mouth
  • Frequent biting of tongue or cheeks
  • Change in the facial structure

Diagnosing Malocclusion

A dentist checks for malocclusion in children during regular dental checkups and if the teeth seem mal-alinged or the jaw appears distorted, the child may be referred to an orthodontist. The orthodontist will then examine the following

  • The child’s medical history to identify past health problems or any systemic diseases

  • X-rays of the teeth and face which includes lateral cephalogram and OPG x-rays

  • As recommended by The American Association of Orthodontists, every child should get a dental check up with an orthodontist by the age of seven and regular dental visits should commence at the age of 12 months. Regular dental visits help in the identification of dental problems early on so that treatment can be initiated in time.

Treatment Options For Malocclusion


  • Braces are one of the proven and oldest treatments among the malocclusion treatments.

  • Sometimes certain teeth need to be extracted before starting braces treatment in kids and teens depending on the case. Braces straighten the teeth and jaw to fix your smile and bite.

  • Your orthodontist might prescribe metal or ceramic or lingual braces whichever is suited for your case.

  • It will depend on the severity of your malocclusion of teeth as well.

Removable Devices like Retainers

  • Removable orthodontic devices are popular for malocclusion treatment because of the convenience or the comfort it provides.

  • They are generally custom-made for you, some examples of removable devices are retainers and headgears.

  • Retainer trays maintain the alignment of teeth corrected by orthodontic treatments like braces and the duration of treatment depends on the condition of the abnormal bite.


  • Invisalign can treat all kinds of malocclusion of teeth, be it underbite, open bite, overbite, or crossbite.

  • It is most advanced type of treatments.

  • It is a set of clear plastic aligner trays, therefore, it is invisible to others.

  • Invisalign are removable, and you need to wear them for 20-22 hours a day. In that time, it exerts pressure on teeth and jaw for proper alignment.Invisalign provides you a perfect smile makeover while being discreet.

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