What Are Malocclusions?
A malocclusion is an incorrect relationship between the teeth of the upper and lower jaws. This can result in a wide variety of problems, including pain, difficulty chewing, and even TMJ disorders. There are different types of malocclusions, but today we will focus on class 3 malocclusions.
What Is Class 3 Malocclusion?
Class 3 malocclusions, also known as “underbites,” are characterized by the lower jaw protruding beyond the upper jaw. This can cause the teeth to become misaligned and can even lead to problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Class 3 malocclusions are relatively rare, the rarest from all the classes.
What Causes Class 3 Malocclusions?
There are several potential causes of class III malocclusions, including:
- Heredity: This is the most common cause of class 3 malocclusions. If one or both parents have a class 3 malocclusion, there is a higher chance that their children will also have this condition.
- Birth defects: Certain birth defects, such as cleft palate or cleft lip, can cause class 3 malocclusions.
- Trauma: An injury to the face or jaw can lead to a class 3 malocclusion.
- Tumors: Both benign and cancerous tumors can cause the jaw to grow abnormally, leading to a class 3 malocclusion.
- Teeth grinding: This is a common habit that can lead to a class 3 malocclusion over time.
Symptoms of Class 3 Malocclusions
The most common symptom of a class 3 malocclusion is that the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth. This can make it difficult to bite and chew properly. Other symptoms may include:
- pain in the jaw or face;
- difficulty chewing;
- TMJ disorders;
- crowded or crooked teeth;
- a “gummy” smile.
Class 3 Malocclusions: Treatment Timing
The timing of treatment for class 3 malocclusions depends on the severity of the condition. For milder cases, treatment may not be necessary until the child reaches adolescence. For more severe cases, early treatment may be needed, even in childhood.
Orthodontics Treatment for Class III Patients
The treatment for class 3 malocclusions will depend on the severity of the condition. For milder cases, treatment may be as simple as wearing braces to slowly move the teeth into place. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the position of the jaw.
Class III patients often require orthognathic surgeries. This type of treatment involves both orthodontic braces and surgery to correct the position of the jaw.
The first step in surgical-orthodontic treatment is to wear braces for a period of time, typically 6 to 18 months. During this time, the braces will slowly move the teeth into place. Once the teeth are in the correct position, surgery will be performed to correct the position of the jaw.
After an orthognathic surgery, more braces may be necessary to ensure that the teeth remain in the correct position. The entire process can take 2 to 3 years to complete.
Class 3 malocclusions can be a difficult condition to live with. However, there are treatment plans available for patients with class 3 that can correct the problem. If you or your child have a class 3 malocclusion, be sure to talk to your orthodontist about the best surgical and orthodontic treatment option for you.
Camouflage Treatment and Facial Esthetics
The good news is that there are options offered by orthodontics to patients with class III malocclusions that can help improve the facial esthetics.
One such option is camouflage treatment. This type of treatment uses braces to move the teeth into a more favorable position. This can help to improve the appearance of the teeth and jaw, even if the correction of the skeletal discrepancy is not possible.
Mandibular prognathism is a condition similar to class 3 malocclusions and can often be treated with similar methods, such as braces or surgery.
If you or your child have a mandibular prognathism, be sure to talk to your orthodontist about the best treatment option for you.
A malocclusion may be a very noticeable feature on your face, especially if it’s a severe case. You may feel self-conscious about the way you look and how others perceive you. But there are treatments available that can help improve the appearance of your teeth and jaw. Don’t hesitate to talk to your orthodontist about the best treatment option for you.
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