Class III malocclusion: an argument for early orthodontic treatment

Eric Moe


Class III malocclusion is a complex multifactorial condition with many genetic and environmental influences. Most often the condition is inherited in a Mendelian autosomal dominant pattern. Early referral and treatment can lead to better outcomes in orthodontic therapy. The subject presented for an early orthodontic referral at age 5.5 and showed signs of future Class III malocclusion. A rapid maxillary expander was given as interventional treatment for one year. At age 11.5 the subject was treated with braces for 2 years. The outcome was a normal Class I occlusion. The subject’s mother had Class III malocclusion but was not evaluated early and was only able to establish an edge-to-edge Class III malocclusion as the best treatment outcome without orthognathic surgery. The subject’s grandmother was also Class III, establishing an autosomal dominance pattern of inheritance in the family. This case demonstrates the importance of the general dentist educating families about malocclusion and making orthodontic referrals as early as possible so the best treatment outcomes can be reached through orthodontic therapy.


malocclusion; Angle Class III; orthodontics; genetics; craniofacial; patient education

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