Alberto Scott
Medical Director
SmileDirectClub Mexico
/
Expert Contributor

What Is Malocclusion and How Does it Affect Our Social Life?

By Alberto Scott | Mon, 01/17/2022 - 09:08

There is a buccal problem found in a significant segment of the Mexican population: dental misalignment, known in medical terms as “malocclusion.” According to Cuban research, malocclusion is one of the three most prevalent orthodontic ailments in Latin America, alongside cavities and gum disease, the latter of which can debilitate gums and cause tooth loss.

Such misalignment can be divided into three categories: the first is when the upper and lower jaws fit together well but with some separation between the teeth; the second is detectable by protruding upper teeth that seem to be pushed forward as compared to the lower teeth; and the third is the opposite of the second, where those who show this type of imperfection tend to have a longer face and a prominent chin.

It is estimated that 60 percent of people in our country show type 1 malocclusion with crowding, which refers to sparse room in the gums to accommodate all teeth, which can end up in misalignment or overlapping. Another 10 percent shows type 3 malocclusion.

Crooked teeth may be due to several causes, making it difficult to identify a definite source of the condition. Influencing factors can be genetic or habits that some adopt, mostly as children. Though it’s more a matter of aesthetics than a health problem, since people with malocclusion can still eat, speak and lead a “normal” life, dental misalignment carries several important consequences on confidence and social relationships.

A study of over 200 university students published in the Journal of Orthodontics arrived at a similar conclusion after analyzing how much dental misalignment affects dating. After carrying out a series of tests where volunteers rated the beauty level of smiles in photos of young men and women, the conclusion was reached that malocclusion has an influence on the expectations for a date as part of overall facial attractiveness, beyond mere dental appearance. The panel rated the photographs of people with aligned teeth significantly more attractive than the other pictures. They also rated the photograph with the aligned teeth more highly for the likelihood of dating than the images with missing teeth or crowding.

Image will always be key to getting many things in life, ranging from a romantic partner to a job. With the onset of social networks, which has brought on an overexposure of people’s private lives and faces, having a straight smile has become even more of a necessity for many, thus increasing aesthetic whims.

For decades, the most common options to correct malocclusion were wire and rubber band therapies, which have become inconvenient. For example, research published in The European Journal of Orthodontics found that people who try to realign their teeth with any of these fixed devices suffer significantly more painful pricking and anxiety in comparison to those who use clear dental aligners, in addition to having a lesser quality of oral health.

Clear dental aligners are the finest innovation in the world of oral aesthetic technology. SmileDirectClub is the leading business worldwide in this sector, renowned for requiring only one visit to the clinic (SmileShop), where a meticulous 3D scan of the mouth is performed and a model created. Thanks to cutting-edge 3D printing, molds are made that bring to life the clear aligners that patients will use week after week for an average of four to six months to correct their smiles, feel happier and increase self-esteem, freeing them to socialize more easily and confidently, among other activities.

Patients get their aligners shipped to their home and receive punctual follow-ups on their treatment thanks to teledentistry – live video appointments with accredited dentists and orthodontists. To date, SmileDirectClub has changed the lives of over 1.5 million people in 14 countries.

The time has arrived to set aside traditional solutions for malocclusion. The answer is innovative, comfortable, clear dental aligners, which represent a market valued at $2.6 billion in 2020, according to Grand View Research, and which is expected to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.3 percent between 2021 and 2028.

Photo by:   Alberto Scott