Common Problems

The following is a listing of the major dental problems that can be addressed with orthodontic treatment and why treatment is beneficial in each case:

Crowding of the Teeth

Crowding is a lack of space for all the teeth to fit normally within the jaws. The teeth may be twisted or displaced. Crowding occurs when there is a disharmony in the tooth to jaw size relationship or when the teeth are larger than the available space. Crowding can be caused by improper eruption of the teeth and early or late loss of primary teeth.

Crowding should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent proper cleaning of all the surfaces of your teeth
  • Cause dental decay
  • Increase the chances of gum disease
  • Prevent proper functioning of teeth
  • Make your smile less attractive

 

How crowding can be orthodontically corrected:

 
Extra space can be created by expansion of the arches or extraction of teeth. Once space is created, braces will eliminate crowding and align the teeth. Correction of crowding can help prevent dental decay and periodontal disease by improving the ability to remove plaque from the teeth.

Spacing of the Teeth

Spacing (the opposite of crowding) is an excess of space for your teeth which results in gaps between your teeth. This generally occurs when the teeth are smaller than the available space. Spacing can also be caused by protrusive teeth, missing teeth, impacted teeth, or abnormal tissue attachments to the gums.

 

Spacing should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent proper functioning of the teeth
  • Result in gum problems due to the lack of protection by the teeth
  • Make your smile less attractive

 

How spacing of the teeth can be orthodontically corrected:

 
The spaces can be closed by moving the teeth together and properly aligning them within the arch.

Impacted Teeth

Impactions can be caused by improper positioning of the developing tooth bud. This can cause the tooth to fail to erupt into the mouth. Impactions can also be caused by early loss of primary teeth or crowding of teeth. Wisdom teeth are the most commonly impacted teeth. Canines and premolars (bicuspids) can also be impacted.

 

This problem should be corrected because it can:

  • Cause damage to the root structure of adjacent teeth
  • Interfere with the sinus cavity
  • Leave unwanted spaces
  • Lead to improper functioning of the teeth
  • Cause asymmetric alignment of the teeth

 

How impacted teeth can be orthodontically corrected:

 
Usually the impacted tooth is exposed over the course of several months and brought into the correct position of the mouth. Correction of impacted teeth may involve a minor surgical procedure performed by an oral surgeon or periodontist working closely with our practice. This will allow us to then guide eruption of the impacted tooth into proper position.

Missing Teeth

Missing teeth means the absence of a tooth or teeth that should normally be present. This can be caused by trauma or lack of development.

This problem should be corrected because it can:

  • Cause improper functioning of the teeth
  • Cause premature wear of the teeth
  • Cause asymmetric alignment of the teeth
  • Make your smile look less attractive

How missing teeth can be orthodontically corrected:

Depending on the situation, the space can be closed with braces or opened for tooth replacement. A bridge or dental implant are restorative options if a space is created.

Crossbite

A crossbite can occur in the front and/or on the sides of the mouth. One or more upper teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This can occur with a single tooth or multiple teeth. Early correction of a crossbite is recommended.

A crossbite should be corrected because it can:

Cause premature wear of the teeth
Cause gum disease, including bone loss
Cause asymmetrical development of the jaws
Cause dysfunctional chewing patterns
Make your smile less attractive

How can a crossbite be orthodontically corrected:

If there is a single tooth crossbite, the tooth can be moved with braces or a removable appliance into the correct position. With multiple teeth in crossbite, the arch needs to be expanded with braces or other intra-oral appliances.

Openbite

Openbite is an insufficient vertical overlap of the teeth. If can be caused by oral habits such as tongue thrust, digit sucking, or because the jaws fail to grow evenly. Timing is critical to the overall success of the correction.

An openbite should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent proper functioning of the front teeth
  • Cause difficulties in adequately chewing food
  • Lead to premature wear and/or loss of the teeth
  • Cause jaw joint problems
  • Make your smile less attractive

How an openbite can be orthodontically corrected:

Open bite can be corrected through growth modification of the jaws, using braces to extrude anterior teeth, and in some cases, surgical correction of the jaws. Also, breaking oral habits such as digit sucking will stop further damage or a permanent deformation from occurring.

Overbite

Class II Overbite:

Overbite occurs when the upper front teeth protrude over the lower front teeth. Generally there is no contact between the upper and lower front teeth. Often you cannot see the lower incisors. Overbite is due to a disproportionate amount of eruption of the front teeth often in conjunction with a front to back discrepancy in the growth of the upper or lower jaw (Class II skeletal relationship). Overbite is also known as deep bite.

Overbite should be corrected because it can:

  • Cause improper functioning of your front teeth
  • Result in the lower front teeth biting into the gum tissue of the opposing palate leading to tissue problems
  • Unusual wear of the lower front teeth
  • Cause jaw joint problem (TMJ)
  • Make your smile less attractive

How an overbite can be orthodontically corrected:

Overbite can be corrected through moving the front teeth up and/or bringing the back teeth together, which will open the bite so the teeth are properly aligned and the deep bite is eliminated.

Overjet

Class II Overjet:

Overjet is also known as protrusion. In this case, the lower teeth are too far behind the upper front teeth. This can be caused by a skeletal misalignment of the upper and lower jaw, flared upper incisors, missing lower teeth or a combination of all the above. In addition, oral habits such as thumb sucking, finger sucking, or tongue thrusting can exacerbate the condition.

Overjet should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent proper functioning of the front teeth
  • Lead to premature wear
  • Make your smile less attractive

How overjet can be orthodontically corrected:

Overjet can be corrected through growth modifications-using headgear and/or elastics to reduce the skeletal mis-alignment or extraction of upper teeth to compensate for the skeletal imbalance.

Underbite

Class III Underbite:

An underbite is when the lower front teeth protrude past the upper front teeth. It is usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw or a combination of the two (Class III relationship). Underbite can also be caused by flared lower incisors, missing upper teeth, or a combination of all the above. Early correction of underbite is strongly recommended.

Underbite should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent proper functioning of the front teeth or molars which can lead to premature wear of the teeth
  • Cause chewing or eating problems
  • Cause jaw joint problems (TMJ)
  • Make your smile less attractive

How underbite can be orthodontically corrected:

Underbite can sometimes be corrected through growth modification of the jaws or extraction of teeth. In severe cases, surgical correction of the jaws combined with orthodontic treatment may be the only viable option.