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Malocclusion in Adulthood: Causes and Treatment

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Happy Smiling Man Looking Away — Crest Hill, IL — Crest Hill Family Dental

Malocclusion is primarily a hereditary disease, and the condition is easy to diagnose. As such, many people get the necessary orthodontic treatment in childhood. However, you can also develop malocclusion in adulthood. Below are some causes of and treatment fo adulthood malocclusion.


Most of the same things that cause malocclusion in childhood can also trigger malocclusion in adulthood.

Mouth Breathing

Breathing through the mouth increases your risk of malocclusion. The risk increases with the duration of the problem. Thus, those with chronic mouth breathing are more likely to develop malocclusion. You might suffer from chronic mouth breathing if somethin blocks your airway, say if you:

  • Have chronic allergies
  • Suffer from sinusitis
  • Suffer from rhinitis

The connection between mouth breathing and malocclusions isn’t clear. One possible explanation is that the habit places the tongue, mouth, and jaw conditions in unnatural conditions. The unnatural positions cause unusual tension on the surrounding tissues, includin teeth and jaw tissues, which eventually interfere with the teeth’s positioning.

Teeth Loss

Your teeth stimulate your bone whenever you speak, eat, or talk. The stimulation strengthens the jawbone and helps the teeth to remain in their usual position.

The stimulation disappears if you lose and don’t replace a tooth. The affected jawbone weakens and loses some of its density. The weakening jawbone allows the teeth to move, most likely towards the vacant space, leading to malocclusion.


Anything that affects the integrity or positioning of the jawbone can result in malocclusion. The effect makes sense since the jawbone anchors the teeth. Gunshots, auto accidents, and falls are examples of trauma that can lead to malocclusion. The risk is eve higher if the injury fractures the jawbone and it doesn’t heal properly.


Oral or dental diseases can also deteriorate your jawbone and affect your teeth’s arrangement. Below are a few examples of such diseases:

  • Bone tumors – A tumor can swell the jawbone and lift a tooth or two, interfering with their positioning in the process.
  • Periodontal diseases – The condition is an extreme form of gum disease. You might develop gingivitis if you don’t treat gum disease in its infancy. Periodontal disease can affect and weaken your jawbone.
  • Osteonecrosis – The condition causes the death of bone cells. If osteonecrosis affects the jawbone, the jawbone will lose its density, and with it, the firmness of the teeth’s attachment to the jawbone.
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction – The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jawbone to the skull. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction refers to a group of disorders that affect the TMD joint and can affect normal jawbone positioning if untreated.

The above are just a few examples of diseases that might lead to malocclusion. Any oral disease that affects the jawbone can lead to similar results.

Ill-Fitting Dental Restorations or Appliances

Dental restorations or appliances can correct numerous dental problems, such as cracked or abnormally sized teeth. Examples of dental restorations or appliances include:

  • Crowns
  • Fillings
  • Retainers

However, these treatments only work well if they fit you correctly. Otherwise, they might move some teeth out of their normal positions.


Treatment of malocclusion is not too different from the treatment of malocclusion in childhood. The main difference is that a child’s jawbone is still growing while an adult’s jawbone has stopped growing. Adults also have some habits, such as smoking, that migh interfere with treatment.

Despite these differences, both demographics can benefit from dental braces. Just ensure you follow your dentist’s advice to the letter, especially advice concerning braces care.

Crest Hill Family Dental has offered dental care for decades. Our family-oriented dental practice has heavily invested in thelatest technology and techniques. Contact us foraconsultation on your dental needsand benefit from our patient-centered care.

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Crest Hill
Family Dental

2410 W Caton Farm Rd, Suite C
Crest Hill, IL 60403
Phone: (815) 439-1111
Fax: (815) 439-9709

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