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This post is the fourth in a multi part series on the diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment of OMDs. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, and 3 yet, I recommend you do before continuing.
The effects of OMDs on all three of these are interrelated. Numerous OMDs might affect stability of orthodontic treatment, one of the most common being tongue thrust. In a patient with tongue thrust, the excess muscular forces produced by the tongue are misdirected into the teeth, rather than being transferred into the hard palate where they can dissipate safely. Over time, these repeated, misplaced forces push the teeth out of alignment. This condition is known as an open bite. The most common type of open bite is an anterior open bite, meaning that the front teeth are being pushed out, but open bite can also affect the teeth on either side of the mouth if the tongue pushes sideways during the swallow.
Misaligned teeth and an improper bite both negatively impact oral hygiene. Crooked teeth are harder to clean, and therefore more likely to develop cavities. Malocclusion – the medical term for a misalignment of the bite – often causes premature erosion of tooth enamel. When the teeth don’t come together as they’re supposed to, it creates unnatural pressure points that eventually erode the enamel. Once the enamel is worn through, the interior layers of the teeth are open to decay, which causes cavities. This is one reason why dentists say there’s no such thing as a functional malocclusion.
The jaw line is one of the most pronounced features of the face. When the jaw has improper resting posture, facial esthetics will be affected.
Check back soon for The importance of diagnosing and treating OMDs, part 4. In the meantime, check out our page on treatment of OMDs.