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A Look at the Different Kinds of Malocclusion

Last updated 3 years ago

You may hear your general dentist use the term “malocclusion” when examining your teeth. Malocclusion means that you have an abnormal bite pattern. In other words, your teeth aren’t properly aligned. Dentists recommend orthodontic treatment for malocclusion to preserve oral health and maintain proper function. When preparing for orthodontic treatment, your dentist will classify your bite pattern as class I, II, or III. Abnormal bite patterns can be further categorized according to their specific types.

Upper Protrusion

Your dentist may classify your malocclusion as an upper protrusion, commonly referred to as “buck teeth.” This condition is characterized by the outward position of the upper front teeth. Sometimes, an upper protrusion is caused by excessive thumb sucking or pacifier use in childhood. You could also have this type of malocclusion because of a small lower jaw.


In a normal bite pattern, your upper front teeth will be just slightly forward of the lower front teeth. If you have an overbite, it means that your front teeth on your upper jaw extend too far over the corresponding teeth on your lower jaw.


An underbite is the opposite of an overbite. It occurs when the lower front teeth are forward of the upper front teeth. This is an example of a class III malocclusion.


In an ideal smile, the corresponding teeth in the upper and lower jaws fit together in certain places. A crossbite occurs when an upper tooth fits into the wrong side of its corresponding tooth on the lower jaw.

Open Bite

If your dentist determines that you have an open bite, it means your molars fit together properly. However, your upper and lower front teeth do not, creating an irregular opening in the center of your smile. With an open bite, you may experience difficulty biting into foods.

Patients of The Smile Design Center of Baltimore can take advantage of the Invisalign system for correcting various types of malocclusion. For a thorough evaluation of your bite pattern, call our friendly dentistry practice at (443) 275-9821 or fill out our contact form. In addition to orthodontics, we also offer implant dentistry, sedation dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry.


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