Common Problems

Achieving a healthy bite is important at any age. Left untreated, crooked teeth can lead to periodontal disease and create abnormal amounts of stress on teeth and jaws which can lead to premature wear. The effects of crooked teeth can get worse over time and can adversely affect your overall health. It is important to have an evaluation by an orthodontist to see if you can benefit from orthodontic treatment.

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 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 premature wear of the teeth
  • Case asymmetric alignment of the teeth

How can impacted teeth be orthodontically corrected?

Usually the impacted tooth is exposed over the course of a few 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 working closely with our practice. This will allow us to then guide the eruption of the impacted tooth into proper position.

Crossbite

Crossbite can occur in the front and/or 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 crossbite is recommended.

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 into the correct position. In some cases, a retainer can be utilized. 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. It is caused by oral habits such as tongue thrust, digit sucking or when the jaws don’t grow evenly. Timing of treatment is critical to the overall success of the therapy. The sooner a habit is controlled the less damage is done and the easier the habit is to break. The longer it goes own the opposite is true.

How can spacing of the teeth be orthodontically corrected?

Openbite can be corrected through growth modification of the jaws using braces, extrusion of the front and anterior teeth and in some cases surgical correction of the jaws. Also breaking oral habits, such as digit sucking, will facilitate the correction of an openbite.

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 front teeth or over development of the bone that supports the teeth and a front to back discrepancy in the growth of the upper or lower jaw (Class II Relationship). Overbite is also known as a 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 upper palate leading to tissue problems.
  • Unusual wear of the lower front teeth
  • Cause jaw or joint problems
  • Make your smile less attractive

How can an overbite 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

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 an improper alignment of the molars (Class II Relationship), a skeletal imbalance 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 can overjet be orthodontically corrected?

Overjet can be corrected through growth modification using a functional appliance and/or elastics to reduce the skeletal imbalance or extraction of teeth.

Class III Underbite

This occurs when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. It’s usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. It can also be caused by missing upper teeth.

Missing back teeth should be corrected because it can:

  • Prevent normal function of front teeth
  • Lead to tooth wear
  • Cause painful jaw and joint problems.

How can underbite be orthodontically corrected?

Underbite can be corrected through growth modification of the jaws, extraction of teeth and in some cases, surgical correction of the jaws.

Missing Teeth

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

Missing teeth should be corrected because it can:

  • Cause chewing or eating problems
  • Cause teeth spacing or drifting problems
  • Cause premature wear of teeth
  • Cause asymmetic alignment of teeth
  • Make your smile less attractive

How can missing teeth be orthodontically corrected?

Depending upon the situation, the space can be closed with braces or opened for tooth replacement. A bridge or dental implant is sometimes used to replace the missing tooth if a space is created.

If a patient is missing lateral incisors, canine substitution can be a treatment option. Treatment will be determined based on the type of malocclusion, profile, canine shape and color and smiling lip level.

Tongue Thrust

Tongue thrusting is the habit of placing the tongue in the wrong position during swallowing, either too far forward or to the sides. This constant pressure of the tongue can force the teeth and arches out of alignment.

Tongue thrusting should be corrected because it can:

  • Force teeth and arches out of alignment
  • Cause periodontal problems
  • Cause relapse of orthodontic treatment
  • Cause soreness of tongue and teeth
  • Cause speech problems

How can tongue thrusting be orthodontically corrected?

An orthodontic appliance can be used to help retrain patients to swallow normally.