Types of Orthodontic Problems

Simply More Than Just Crooked Teeth

Every malocclusion is unique.  They differ in their specific presentation, and also in their severity.  Your malocclusion may display one or several of these problems:

  • Crowded teeth

A mismatch between tooth-size and jaw-size can result in crowded, irregular teeth.  Crowded teeth can not only be unsightly, but also difficult to clean and prone to uneven wear, which can itself present as a future problem.

  • Gaps between the teeth

Spacing problems may be caused by missing teeth, narrow teeth, or they may be exacerbated by unwanted forces from the tongue.

  • Protruded teeth / buck teeth

A common concern is that of the upper front teeth sticking out.  It is characterised by the upper teeth extending too far forward (i.e. a crowding or angulation issue) or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward (i.e. possibly a small lower jaw).  Protruded teeth can be unattractive and prone to accidental damage.  In extreme cases, the protruded teeth interfere with the normal lip seal, creating a situation where the lips do not meet.

  • Under-bite / reverse bite

An under-bite occurs when upper front teeth are behind the lower front teeth.  This can be due to an angulation issue of the teeth and/or a jaw size discrepancy, where the upper and lower jaws do not match.  An under-bite occurs much more infrequently compared to protruded teeth.

  • Deep bite

A deep bite refers to excessive vertical overlap of the upper and lower front teeth.  Some vertical overlap is desirable, but in a deep bite, the upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth, sometimes causing the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.

  • Open bite

An open bite exists when the upper and lower teeth do not meet on closing, creating the appearance of an opening between teeth.  An open bite can cause eating problems and excessive wear of those teeth which do make contact. It may also be unattractive and can be associated with speech and gum problems.

  • Cross-bite

The upper teeth should fit outside the lower teeth like a lid over a box. If the upper jaw is too narrow, the insufficient width overlap causes a crossbite of the back teeth (posterior cross-bite).  Posterior cross-bites can result in uneven wear of the teeth and can place extra strain on the jaw joint resulting in tempero-mandibular joint (TMJ) problems.  Front teeth can also erupt in anterior (front teeth) cross-bite.

  • Impacted and supernumerary teeth

Sometimes a tooth can become obstructed as it is erupting.  The most common clinical sign of impaction is a tooth that fails to appear within its normal eruptive time span.  Upper canine teeth are impacted in roughly 3% of the population.  Supernumerary teeth are extra teeth that may or may not erupt into the dental arch but can present as potential future problems.