Dental malocclusion – Orthodontics is branch of dentistry which deals with the correction of tooth irregularities or malocclusion by means of braces or other orthodontic treatments or dental malocclusion. Correction of bad habits, movement of teeth, growth guidance, jaw orthopedics, and conservative treatment of the temporomandibular joint all fall under the auspices of the orthodontist. According to Webster’s dictionary, the prefix ortho is of Greek origin and means straight, upright, and true,

Correction of dental malocclusion is not only significant for esthetic purposes, but also very important for general health of the teeth and other oral tissues. The normal occlusion as against dental malocclusion help to direct the forces placed on teeth, thus protect them from trauma during ordinary everyday activities such as chewing and grinding.

Properly aligned occlusion as against dental malocclusion or bite distributes the chewing force throughout the mouth to minimize excessive stress on bones, roots, gum tissue, and temporomandibular joints. Properly aligned teeth are easier to brush and floss, and therefore may be at less risk of decay or disease of the gums and supporting bone.

So, orthodontics plays an important role in improving overall oral health and masticatory functions, and in achieving balance and harmony between the teeth and face for a beautiful, healthy smile. Orthodontic movement of teeth can also be utilized in the treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction.

CAUSES OF dental malocclusion

It can be said that orthodontists treat dental malocclusion in an attempt to straighten them into normal or ideal occlusions. There are many reasons of dental malocclusion. Some of the more common causes are:

  • Habits such as thumb-sucking cause dental malocclusion
  • Genetic inheritance; for example, large teeth inherited from one parent and small jaws from another parent, teeth too large to fit within their jaw bones, or small teeth and large jaws
  • Trauma may also cause dental malocclusion.
  • Missing teeth
  • Delayed development
  • Excessive wear—bruxism
  • Idiopathic


Sometimes conditions exist which prohibit orthodontic therapy or need pre-treatment attention. Some of the factors or situations, which contraindicate the immediate orthodontic treatment, are as follows:

(A) Lack of commitment on the part of patient. As it is a long treatment, the lack of enthusiasm and commitment on the part of patient, may not give the satisfactory results. Wearing the orthodontic appliances until full correction of the dental malocclusion has occurred is essential for the desired outcome. The patient is responsible for following instructions from the orthodontist, for the favorable results. As a rule, positive orthodontic results can be achieved only by cooperative patients.

(B) Financial constraints. As this treatment is of long term in nature and relatively expensive, the financial constraints may also limit people’s ability to go for dental malocclusion treatment.

(C) Any existing Oral pathological Condition. The presence of any pathology in the oral cavity can deter orthodontist from starting the orthodontic treatment. No gingivitis or periodontal disease should be present during active tooth movement. Caries in any tooth must be treated and teeth properly restored in a manner deemed suitable prior to orthodontic treatment. Pulpal pathology must also be resolved by the endodontist prior to the placement of appliances.

(D) Questionable Oral Hygiene Record of the Patient. The braces represent an obstacle around which the toothbrush and other hygiene aids must be manipulated for effective plaque control. Therefore, adequate oral hygiene and home care is a must throughout orthodontic treatment or dental malocclusion. The unsatisfactory oral hygiene track- record of the patient may alter the plans of the Orthodontist in such cases.