Teeth crowding, otherwise known as Malocclusion, is defined as an irregularity of the teeth or the upper and lower jaw relationship. It is part of biological variability and minor irregularities are readily noticed and recorded in the dentition. Great attention has been placed on teeth crowding with an increase in demand for treatment in modern days as more people are aesthetically concerned.
Being a complex subject, malocclusion may be simplified as associated with one or more of the following:
1. Malposition of individual teeth
2. Mismatching upper and lower jaw relationship
The nature of malocclusion can be broadly classified under (1) Skeletal, (2) Dental and (3) Soft Tissue. They interplay to give rise to varying degrees of severity of teeth crowding.
• Varying growth of the upper and lower jaw in the horizontal, vertical and transverse dimension.
• Positioning of teeth
• Congenital Missing teeth
• Extra teeth (Supernumerary)
• Disrupted eruption of adult permanent teeth
• Incompatible tooth size
Soft Tissue Causes
• Lower Lips
• Oral Musculature
• Frenum Attachment
• Periodontal Fibres
• Development Disorders – Examples: Down’s Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Cleidocranial Dysostosis, Cleft Lip and Palate.
In fact, malocclusion is multifactorial in nature with no single explanation to its development. Development of malocclusion stops at the end of the pubertal growth period. The fact that an individual has malocclusion is not in itself a justification for treatment. Only if it is possible to be certain that he or she will benefit aesthetically or functionally, and only if he or she is suitable and willing to undergo treatment should orthodontic intervention be considered.