Problems occur when the jaws and teeth do not meet right. This is called malocclusion (mal means “badly” and occlude means “to close”).
- A skeletal malocclusion occurs when one jaw doesn’t line up with the other, or when the jaws are too big or too small for the teeth.
- A dental malocclusion occurs when the teeth are out of line, crowded, turned, or spread out. This can happen with or without a jaw problem.
Your malocclusion may have come from your parents. If you inherited large teeth from one parent and small jaws from the other parent, your jaws and teeth may not line up right. Or your malocclusion may be due to poor dental care or habits you had, such as sucking your thumb.