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Malocclusion—Why Adults Need an Orthodontist

business-woman-with-approving-smileOcclusion describes the manner in which your teeth fit together. When your jaw is closed, your upper front teeth should protrude ever so slightly in front of your lower front teeth. The chewing surfaces of your teeth should also align comfortably with the chewing surfaces of their opposites. This balance helps your jaw move smoothly along its joints, and allows teeth to evenly disperse the pressure of your bite to minimize impact and avoid damage. When teeth aren’t aligned properly, a condition known as malocclusion, a patient’s bite is imbalanced, and teeth can become excessively worn from exposure to undue pressure.  The jaw’s joints can also become damaged, leading to debilitating discomfort in the form of TMJ disorder. If you suffer from malocclusion, then Los Angeles orthodontist, Dr. David Alpan, can personally design an appropriate course of treatment to correct your crooked teeth and preserve your smile’s beauty and function.

Common Types of Malocclusion

Ideally, teeth should grow straight up and down (vertically) in their sockets, and should be aligned as described above. Different types of malocclusion are defined by the manner in which teeth have grown crooked. Upper front teeth should naturally extend between 3-5 mm in front of their bottom counterparts. Patients whose front teeth extend above 5 mm suffer from a condition commonly known as an overbite. If the lower teeth extend in front of the upper teeth, then the patient suffers from an underbite. A crossbite describes when one or more teeth grow diagonally (at an angle) instead of vertically. Determining the nature of your malocclusion is the first step to effective orthodontic treatment, and will determine the extent of treatment you’ll need.

Braces for Adults

Although orthodontic treatment is necessary, many adult patients hesitate to opt for braces out of fear of embarrassment. Wearing metal brackets and wires on your teeth can detract from your smile’s natural beauty and affect your personal and professional confidence. At Alpan Orthodontics, Dr. Alpan provides a number of discreet adult orthodontic options, including Invisalign clear braces that trade brackets and wires for clear plastic aligners. Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, and can be removed for easy eating and daily hygiene. If you need to straighten your teeth, ask Dr. Alpan about our options for discreet adult orthodontics.

About Dr. Alpan:

With offices in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, Alpan Orthodontics has proudly served patients and their families from all surrounding communities since 1999. To schedule your orthodontic consultation, contact our Los Angeles office at (213) 382-8228 to find the location nearest to you.