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Misaligned Teeth: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jun 15, 2024

What is the treatment ?

Occlusion refers to the condition where the teeth of a person are in alignment. The ideal notion is that the teeth should easily fit inside one’s mouth without any spacing or crowding issues. In addition to this, none of the teeth should be rotated or twisted. The teeth of the upper jaw of a person’s mouth should overlap the teeth of the lower jaw just a little so that the pointed ridges of the molars fit into the groves of the molars opposite to them. If the teeth of a person’s mouth do not follow these rules and are deviated, then the condition is known as malocclusion. There can be various types of deviation of teeth like crowded teeth, underbite, overbite, open bite, cross bite, but any kind of misalignment can be problematic. Alignment of upper teeth is essential for prevention of the cheeks and lips from being bitten down while chewing. On the other hand, alignment of lower teeth is essential so as to protect the tongue from being bitten and hurt.

The treatment of malocclusion is done after proper diagnosis of the mouth of a person. Dental exams and X-rays could be done to see what class of malocclusion the person is suffering from. Photographs of the face are taken so as to understand the relationship between the teeth, jaw and the face. Impressions of the teeth may be taken by making the patient bite down on a soft item. Class 1 malocclusion, which is the most classification, is the condition wherein the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth slightly. As a result, the bite is normal in this case. Class 2 is when a there is the case of a severe overbite. The condition is known as retrognathism which means that there is a significant overlapping of upper jaw over lower jaw. Class 3 also comes with a severe underbite. Also known as prognathism, the condition is determined where the lower jaw protrudes forward causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper jaw. If the misalignment of teeth falls into class 1 of malocclusion then there is no treatment as such that is to be needed. But if it falls under class 2 or 3, then measures could be taken to improve the situation. The measures taken are the application of braces, removal of teeth (if there is a case of overcrowding of teeth), wires around the teeth may be put to frame the teeth or even surgery could be done.

How is the treatment done?

Braces are the most common treatment for crooked and misaligned teeth and jaw. The treatment involves affixing brackets to the teeth. These brackets are then connected with a wire. After a period of time, which is usually around one to three years, an orthodontist tightens the wire, moving the teeth and jaw into alignment. Braces are often opted as the treatment for a case of overbite. When regular braces fail to achieve a satisfactory alignment because of the gap being too large, the orthodontist may recommend headgear braces. They move the upper jaw back or forward, depending on what class of malocclusion it is. They are worn for 12-14 hours per day. In some severe cases, surgery may be recommended if the misalignment affects every-day functions such as eating, speaking and sleeping in the life of a person.

Who is eligible for the treatment?(When is the treatment done ?)

If a person shows the following symptoms, of either subtle or severe degree then they may be eligible for the treatment of malocclusion. The common symptoms of malocclusion are misalignment of the teeth, development of various speech problems, uncomfortable chewing and biting, breathing through the mouth instead of through the nose, changes in the appearance of the face of the person and frequent biting of the inner cheeks or tongue while eating food or speaking. As soon as these symptoms appear, medical attention should be reached out for so that the problem may not cause more problems and difficulties.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Patients who are not having any symptoms related to the diseases or the conditions needed for the treatment are therefore not eligible for the disease. But the best advice can be given by the specialist doctor and therefore it is advised that the patient consults the doctor before the treatment. A slight overlapping of the upper jaw over the lower jaw is acceptable and shouldn’t be worried about. Malocclusion should be taken seriously if one of the above symptoms appear, causing discomfort. However, if it is any other dental problem then the person should visit the dentist as soon as possible.

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Are there any Side Effects?

The most sought out treatment for misaligned teeth is braces but as simple as it seems, the use of braces comes with side effects. They can cause the jaw, gums and teeth to grow sore, painful and sensitive in the beginning as a lot of pressure is put on the teeth through the use of them and it takes time for the mouth to get used to the pressure. The pressure on the jaw also causes severe headaches, which the body takes time to adjust to. It could also be difficult to eat food in the beginning and only food that are soft to eat are advised.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

After the dentist has put in braces for the alignment, special oral care has to be practiced. It is well known that braces cause more tooth decay and so, oral hygiene should be prioritized. Brushing teeth twice a day is the best fix, along with flossing the teeth. Regular visits to the dentist must also be made.

How long does it take to recover?

The recovery time depends on the patient teeth complications and thus can take time from few visits to the dentist to months. In some cases it can take a year to get perfect alignment.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Braces are generally of two types- metallic and ceramic. Apart from the dentist’s visitation and consultation fee (which is flexible from one dentist to another), the average cost of braces is around INR 20,000-30,000 for metallic braces and INR 40,000-50,000 for ceramic braces. The treatment, although a little expensive for some people, is the best there is for the treatment of misaligned teeth and putting the misery of the person suffering from it to an end.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The signs and symptoms of malocclusion appear at a young age. That is when the teeth are still coming out. The treatment, however, could be opted for either in childhood/adolescence or adulthood. The results of the treatment begin to show faster when the treatment in done in childhood, while in adulthood, it might take some time. Other than that time factor, the results of the entire treatment for malocclusion are absolutely permanent and the teeth are aligned perfectly (in dentistry terms), causing no discomfort whatsoever.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Other than braces and surgery (only in severe cases), there is an alternative to the treatment of misaligned teeth. That is, cosmetic dentistry. It is open to adults and in this procedure, misalignment is not treated. Rather, the dentist reshapes the lower teeth followed by the application of veneers to the upper teeth. This makes the misalignment less noticeable and allows the lower teeth to rest behind the upper jaw when the mouth is closed. Be it for the appearance or for the reduction of discomfort, malocclusion should be treated with the same medical attention as other disorders or dental problems. It, too, can cause serious complications and interfere with usual functioning of a person.

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Written ByDr. Vikram Singh AtwalPCAD,MCID Implant,BDS,Advanced AestheticsDentistry
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