Common Orthodontic Problems

  • Class II

    Class II problems represent an abnormal bite relationship in which the upper jaw and teeth are located in front of the lower jaw and teeth. Class II patients usually exhibit a convex facial profile with a recessed chin. In most cases, this relationship is due to inherited characteristics.

    A skeletal Class II problem occurs when the upper back molars are forward of the lower back molars. This gives the patient the appearance of having a recessed lower jaw, a protruding upper jaw, or both.

  • Class III

    Class III problems are also primarily genetic in origin. In this instance, the lower jaw and teeth are positioned in front of the upper jaw and teeth. The lower jaw may appear to be excessively large, but in many cases the lack of upper jaw development is at fault. Several treatment options are available to correct a Class III problem.

  • Crossbite

    A posterior crossbite (of the back teeth) will usually result from a narrow upper jaw or abnormally wide lower jaw. A narrow upper jaw will often force a patient to move the lower jaw forward or to the side when closing into a stable bite. When closed into this accommodating position, the lower teeth are located outside the upper teeth.

    A posterior crossbite can involve one side of the jaw, known as a unilateral crossbite, or both sides of the jaw, known as a bilateral crossbite.

    An anterior crossbite (of the front teeth) can cause the lower jaw to come forward in an unhealthy way, and can cause wearing or chipping of the front teeth.

    It is critical to correct crossbites as soon as possible, in order to avoid worn or chipped teeth, or irreversible unhealthy facial growth that may require jaw surgery to correct. Two-Phase Treatment is ideal to address crossbites early, to avoid major issues later.

  • Crowding

    Crowding of the teeth is probably the most common orthodontic problem. Although many factors contribute to dental crowding, this problem typically stems from a discrepancy between the space in each jaw and the size of the teeth.

    Crowding is often one of several orthodontic problems. Crowding can be the cause or result of other problems, such as impacted teeth, retained teeth or teeth that do not naturally fall out. Crossbite of the front or rear teeth can also cause the teeth to become crowded.

    Two-Phase Treatment can help to lessen crowding or to eliminate it altogether, before the crowding has lead to other issues, such as gingival/gum defects, which may require surgery later.

  • Deep Bite

    A deep bite is excessive vertical overlapping of the front teeth and is generally found in association with a discrepancy between the length of the upper and lower jaws. It usually results in excessive eruption of the upper or lower incisors, or both. The lower front teeth often bite into the roof of the mouth.

  • Excessive Gingival Display

    Also known as a gummy smile, this orthodontic problem gives the appearance of excessive exposed gums on the upper arch. There are several treatment options for this problem. It may simply involve lifting the upper front teeth using braces to help reduce the excessive gum display. In more severe cases with a jaw discrepancy, surgery may be necessary to lift the upper jaw to help reduce the excessive exposure of the upper gum tissue.

  • Incisor Overbite

    Also known as a deep bite, incisor overbite is excessive vertical overlapping of the front teeth and is generally found in association with a discrepancy between the length of the upper and lower jaws. It usually results in excessive eruption of the upper or lower incisors, or both.

  • Open Bite

    An open bite can occur with the front teeth, known as an anterior open bite, or with the back teeth, referred to as a posterior open bite. An anterior open bite is the lack of vertical overlap of the front teeth and can usually be traced to jaw disharmony or habits such as thumb-sucking or the thrusting of the tongue against the front teeth. A posterior open bite is a problem in which the back teeth do not meet vertically, which keeps the jaw from functioning properly.

  • Overjet

    Overjet is the horizontal distance between the back surfaces of the upper front teeth and the front surfaces of the lower front teeth. If the overjet is excessive, the upper front teeth appear to protrude ahead of the lower lip.

  • Pseudo Class III

    Pseudo Class III, particularly in younger patients, is a function of habit rather than hereditary factors. A misaligned bite may cause the lower teeth to bite forward of the upper teeth, giving the appearance of a Class III. Two-Phase Treatment is imperative to prevent abnormal growth of both the upper and lower jaws.

  • Spacing

    Spaces between teeth are another common problem associated with the need for orthodontic care. Like crowding, spacing may be related to a tooth-to-jaw size disharmony. Spacing may occur between the front and the back teeth. Tooth size discrepancies, such as smaller teeth or abnormally shaped teeth, or tongue thrust habits can also create abnormal spacing.

  • Class II


    Class II problems represent an abnormal bite relationship in which the upper jaw and teeth are located in front of the lower jaw and teeth. Class II patients usually exhibit a convex facial profile with a recessed chin. In most cases, this relationship is due to inherited characteristics.

    A skeletal Class II problem occurs when the upper back molars are forward of the lower back molars. This gives the patient the appearance of having a recessed lower jaw, a protruding upper jaw, or both.

    Class III


    Class III problems are also primarily genetic in origin. In this instance, the lower jaw and teeth are positioned in front of the upper jaw and teeth. The lower jaw may appear to be excessively large, but in many cases the lack of upper jaw development is at fault. Several treatment options are available to correct a Class III problem.

    Crossbite


    A posterior crossbite (of the back teeth) will usually result from a narrow upper jaw or abnormally wide lower jaw. A narrow upper jaw will often force a patient to move the lower jaw forward or to the side when closing into a stable bite. When closed into this accommodating position, the lower teeth are located outside the upper teeth.

    A posterior crossbite can involve one side of the jaw, known as a unilateral crossbite, or both sides of the jaw, known as a bilateral crossbite.

    An anterior crossbite (of the front teeth) can cause the lower jaw to come forward in an unhealthy way, and can cause wearing or chipping of the front teeth.

    It is critical to correct crossbites as soon as possible, in order to avoid worn or chipped teeth, or irreversible unhealthy facial growth that may require jaw surgery to correct. Two-Phase Treatment is ideal to address crossbites early, to avoid major issues later.

    Crowding


    Crowding of the teeth is probably the most common orthodontic problem. Although many factors contribute to dental crowding, this problem typically stems from a discrepancy between the space in each jaw and the size of the teeth.

    Crowding is often one of several orthodontic problems. Crowding can be the cause or result of other problems, such as impacted teeth, retained teeth or teeth that do not naturally fall out. Crossbite of the front or rear teeth can also cause the teeth to become crowded.

    Two-Phase Treatment can help to lessen crowding or to eliminate it altogether, before the crowding has lead to other issues, such as gingival/gum defects, which may require surgery later.

    Deep Bite


    A deep bite is excessive vertical overlapping of the front teeth and is generally found in association with a discrepancy between the length of the upper and lower jaws. It usually results in excessive eruption of the upper or lower incisors, or both. The lower front teeth often bite into the roof of the mouth.

    Excessive Gingival Display


    Also known as a gummy smile, this orthodontic problem gives the appearance of excessive exposed gums on the upper arch. There are several treatment options for this problem. It may simply involve lifting the upper front teeth using braces to help reduce the excessive gum display. In more severe cases with a jaw discrepancy, surgery may be necessary to lift the upper jaw to help reduce the excessive exposure of the upper gum tissue.

    Incisor Overbite


    Also known as a deep bite, incisor overbite is excessive vertical overlapping of the front teeth and is generally found in association with a discrepancy between the length of the upper and lower jaws. It usually results in excessive eruption of the upper or lower incisors, or both.

    Open Bite


    An open bite can occur with the front teeth, known as an anterior open bite, or with the back teeth, referred to as a posterior open bite. An anterior open bite is the lack of vertical overlap of the front teeth and can usually be traced to jaw disharmony or habits such as thumb-sucking or the thrusting of the tongue against the front teeth. A posterior open bite is a problem in which the back teeth do not meet vertically, which keeps the jaw from functioning properly.

    Overjet


    Overjet is the horizontal distance between the back surfaces of the upper front teeth and the front surfaces of the lower front teeth. If the overjet is excessive, the upper front teeth appear to protrude ahead of the lower lip.

    Pseudo Class III


    Pseudo Class III, particularly in younger patients, is a function of habit rather than hereditary factors. A misaligned bite may cause the lower teeth to bite forward of the upper teeth, giving the appearance of a Class III. Two-Phase Treatment is imperative to prevent abnormal growth of both the upper and lower jaws.

    Spacing


    Spaces between teeth are another common problem associated with the need for orthodontic care. Like crowding, spacing may be related to a tooth-to-jaw size disharmony. Spacing may occur between the front and the back teeth. Tooth size discrepancies, such as smaller teeth or abnormally shaped teeth, or tongue thrust habits can also create abnormal spacing.

    Meet Dr. Held

    Originally from Northern California, Dr. Cheryl L. Held began her orthodontic residency at the Saint Louis University Department of Orthodontics.
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