Common Orthodontic Problems
With ideal bite and dental alignment, the top teeth slightly overlap the bottom teeth (about 2 millimeters of overlap). With a malocclusion, or a misaligned bite, the lower teeth may overlap the upper teeth, the upper dental arch may be wider or more narrow than the lower arch, or individual teeth may be crooked or crowded.
These scenarios are considered common orthodontic problems, and they can lead to a number of challenges. Fortunately, if you have any of the following problems, we can help you. Request your complimentary orthodontic exam to take the first step!
Missing Lateral Incisors
The lateral incisors are the two teeth located on both sides of the two front teeth. When the incisors are missing, the canine tooth is located next to the front teeth.
Missing lateral incisors are most often caused by genetics, but they can also result from early loss of baby teeth and injury.
When teeth overlap each other or rotate sideways to fit all teeth in the dental arch, they’re considered ‘crowded’.
‘Crowded teeth’ generally occur when there isn’t sufficient room in the patient’s mouth to allow for all permanent teeth to grow. When caught early through early orthodontic treatment, a palatal expander appliance can be used to efficiently widen the jaw bone to create the necessary space for all permanent teeth to fit.
Spaces between the teeth are often related to the size of the jaw bone, relative to the size of the teeth. When the teeth are significantly less proportionate to the jaw bone, teeth spacing can occur.
To correct gapped teeth or teeth spacing, your orthodontist may suggest braces or Invisalign, as well as retainers to hold the teeth together and prevent further spacing.
When the upper teeth and lower teeth protrude outward and the top teeth and bottom teeth don’t come together in the front, this is called an open bite.
Open bites can be very difficult to live with, as they may cause mouth-breathing, chewing difficulties, digestive problems stemming from insufficient chewing, speech impediments and facial abnormalities.
This condition can be caused by genetics or from unhealthy childhood habits, like thumb-sucking and tongue-thrusting. Depending on the patient’s age, a palatal expander appliance, followed by braces or Invisalign, may be the best treatment route.
An overbite condition is characterized by the upper jaw overlapping the lower jaw. This condition can be caused by genetics or the result of prolonged childhood habits, especially thumb-sucking and pacifier-sucking.
Overbite correction can be achieved with growth modification appliances, braces, or Invisalign. Surgery may become necessary if this condition is left untreated and worsens over the years.
With an underbite condition, the lower jaw overlaps the upper jaw (the opposite of an overbite). Underbites may be caused by genetics or result from previous injuries to the jaws.
If the underbite condition is not too far advanced, it can be corrected with growth modification appliances, along with braces or Invisalign.
Overjet, also commonly called ‘bucked teeth’, is characterized by the top teeth protruding outward or over the bottom teeth. Overjets are generally caused by an underdeveloped lower jaw bone.
Treatment including growth modification appliances and braces or Invisalign may be advised to encourage forward growth of the lower jaw and to align the lower jaw with the upper jaw.