Certain habits contribute to malalignment of the teeth and must be corrected if orthodontic treatment is to be successful. These include;
1. Tongue thrusting: when the tongue rests on the back surfaces of the maxillary teeth; Pressures causes the teeth to move forward
2.Thumb and finger sucking: beyond age 5, the facial structure will be affected,particularly the maxillary arch, the palate, and the anterior teeth.
3.Bruxism: involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth in movements other than chewing occurring most frequently during sleep. The grinding causes unnatural wear of the enamel (outermost layer of the tooth) and pressures on the periodontium(tissues surrounding the teeth).
4. Mouth breathing: may be as a result of narrowing of the maxilla, which can cause a pinched facial appearance. Mouth breathing prolonged over a number of years can cause a change in the dentofacial structure of the child.
The common malalignment problems encountered are:
Crowding occurs when there is insufficient space for the normal compliment of adult teeth.
Overjet is excessive protrusion of the maxillary incisors, causing space or distance between the facial surface of the mandibular incisors and the lingual surface of the maxillary incisors.
Overbite is an increased vertical overlap of the maxillary incisors. With an extreme overbite, the mandibular incisor may not be visible.
Open bite is a lack of vertical overlap of the maxillary incisors, creating an opening of the anterior teeth when the posterior teeth are closed.
Cross-bite indicates that a tooth is not properly aligned with its opposing tooth.
An example of this occurs when a person closes the teeth; the axillry arch should be slightly wider and longer so that it properly occludes the mandibular arch. If the maxillary tooth is inward or touches end to end with another tooth, then a cross-bite exist.