Orthodontics comes from the Greek words orthos meaning straight or proper, and odons meaning tooth. So it deals with the subject of straight teeth and properly aligned teeth.  When teeth on the upper and lower jaws do not align or meet-up correctly, dentists use the term malocclusion. This comes from the French word mal- meaning bad or poor and the word occlusion which in dental terms simply means the contact between teeth. So, when you have poor contact you have a malocclusion. This is also referred to as a "bad bite".


Some of the reasons for malocclusions are:

  • Small Mouth: A small mouth means less space for the teeth to grow which can then cause crowding once the permanent teeth erupt.
  • Tongue Thrusting or Thumb Sucking: Some children thrust their tongue forward, pressing it against the lips with a force that can result in the protrusion of teeth, or “open bite,” among other problems.
  • Extra Teeth or Not Enough: Sometimes, a person can have extra teeth develop and/or protrude, or certain teeth that do not develop or protrude at all. Either too  many teeth or not enough can affect your bite. Also, the untimely loss of baby teeth or traumatic injury to the face, mouth or jaw can also affect the bite.


Malocclusion can cause number of health and dental problems. Because teeth are misaligned or crooked it makes them more difficult to clean and floss, which in turn can result in tooth decay and tooth infections. This can then lead to gum disease.  It can also result in fillings, crowns and teeth chipping or breaking.


The crooked teeth can be straightened using braces, of which there are different kinds. The idea of the brace is to gently push the teeth in the direction they need to go. Every 6-8 weeks, the braces are re-adjusted to continue the process.


Braces can be made of metal wire or they can be made of clear ceramic material.


A technology that makes use of clear ceramic material is Invisalign.

Irina Rodriguez, D.D.S.

(Serving Ojai, Lake Casitas, Santa Paula, Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria)

117 Pirie Rd., Suite A

Ojai, CA  93023

Phone: (805) 646-3700 Emergency: (805) 415-4478