Common Orthodontic Issues and Their Treatment Options

Orthodontic issues refer to any problems with the alignment of teeth and jaws. These issues can range from mild to severe and can include a variety of conditions such as crooked teeth, overbite, underbite, and crowded teeth, among others. These conditions not only affect the appearance of an individual’s smile but can also impact their oral health, causing discomfort, difficulty chewing, and even speech problems. It is therefore important to address orthodontic issues early on to avoid more serious problems later in life.

Fortunately, there have been significant advances in orthodontic technology and treatment options in recent years, offering patients a variety of choices to address their specific needs. Braces, Invisalign, and other orthodontic appliances are now available to effectively correct misaligned teeth and jaws, resulting in improved oral health and a more confident smile.

In this article, we will explore some of the most common orthodontic issues and discuss the various treatment options available to help you achieve optimal oral health and a beautiful smile.

1. Overjet

Overjet is a condition where the upper front teeth protrude outwards beyond the lower front teeth, giving the appearance of “buck teeth.” This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, thumb-sucking habits, and jaw size discrepancies.

A. Causes of Overjet

Overjet can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, thumb-sucking habits, and jaw size discrepancies. In some cases, overjet can also be caused by improper tongue posture or swallowing patterns.

B. Treatment Options for Overjet

  • Orthodontics alone: If overjet occurs due to misaligned or improperly positioned teeth, orthodontic treatment such as braces or Invisalign may be sufficient to correct the condition. The orthodontic appliances will gradually move the teeth into their proper position, improving the appearance and functionality of the bite.
  • Orthodontics plus extraction: In some cases, it may be necessary to remove some teeth (usually the top premolars) and reposition the affected teeth to a better angle. This approach is commonly used when there is crowding or not enough room in the mouth to accommodate all the teeth.
  • Orthodontics plus tooth replacement: If overjet is caused by missing teeth, this approach involves widening the space where the missing teeth would have been and lengthening the mandibular arch (lower jaw) to improve the bite. This may be achieved through orthodontic treatment followed by the placement of dental implants or bridges to replace the missing teeth.
  • Orthodontics plus corrective jaw surgery: In cases where there is a significant overjet caused by an underdeveloped mandibular arch (lower jaw), orthodontic treatment may be combined with corrective jaw surgery to correct the jaw position and alleviate the severity of the overjet. This approach is usually recommended for severe cases and requires a multidisciplinary approach involving an orthodontist and oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

2. Deep Overbite

Deep overbite is a dental condition in which the upper front teeth significantly overlap the lower front teeth when the jaw is closed. This condition is also known as a closed bite or deep bite.

A. Causes of Deep Overbite

Deep overbite can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, thumb-sucking habits, improper tongue posture, or an underdeveloped lower jaw. It can also occur as a result of wear and tear on the teeth due to grinding or clenching.

B. Treatment Options for Deep Overbite

Overbite correction is different for children and adults. If an overbite is caught during childhood, treatment may involve:

For children, treatment may involve:

  • Growth modification devices or palate expanders, which are used during growth spurts to reposition the jaw and improve the alignment of the teeth.
  • Braces that gradually move all the teeth into correct alignment, including the correction of the overbite.
  • Removal of baby teeth or permanent teeth to make room for the growth of adult teeth.
  • Retainers to maintain the alignment of the teeth after braces are removed.

For adults, the following treatment options are available:

  • Clear braces or other orthodontic treatments to move only the teeth affected by the overbite and improve their alignment.
  • Jaw surgery to correct the alignment of the jaw in severe cases where the overbite is caused by an underlying skeletal discrepancy.
  • Teeth removal to create additional space and improve the overall alignment of the bite.

3. Crowding

Crowding is a common orthodontic issue that occurs when there is not enough space in the jaw to accommodate all of the teeth. This leads to
misalignment, overlapping, and twisting of the teeth.

A. Causes of Crowding

Crowding can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, abnormal tooth eruption, early or late loss of baby teeth, and habits such as
thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting. Other factors, such as dental trauma, periodontal disease, and tumors, can also contribute to crowding.

B. Treatment Options for Crowding

The treatment of crowding depends on the severity of the condition and the age of the patient. The following treatment options are available:

For children, treatment may involve:

  • Palate expanders, which are used to create additional space in the jaw during growth spurts.
  • Extraction of baby teeth to allow for the proper eruption of adult teeth.
  • Braces, which gradually move the teeth into the correct position and alignment.
  • Retainers to maintain the alignment of the teeth after braces are removed.

For adults, the following treatment options are available:

  • Braces or clear aligners, such as Invisalign, which gradually shift the teeth into the correct position.
  • Extraction of teeth to create additional space and improve the overall alignment of the bite.
  • Orthognathic surgery, which is performed in severe cases where the crowding is caused by an underlying skeletal

4. Spacing

Spacing is an orthodontic issue characterized by gaps or spaces between teeth. These gaps can occur anywhere in the mouth and can be caused by a variety of factors.

A. Causes of Spacing

There are several possible causes of spacing, including:

  • Genetics: Some people may have naturally spaced teeth due to inherited traits.
  • Abnormal tooth development: Teeth may not develop properly, leading to spacing issues.
  • Tooth loss: When a tooth is lost, adjacent teeth can shift and create gaps.
  • Incorrect tooth size: Teeth that are too small in proportion to the jaw can leave gaps.
  • Tongue thrusting: Excessive pressure from the tongue can push teeth out of alignment, leading to spacing issues.

Spacing can range from minor gaps that are purely a cosmetic concern to larger gaps that can affect the bite and overall oral health.

B. Treatment Options for Spacing

A variety of treatment options are available for spacing issues in teeth. Here are some options to consider:

  • Dental Implants: Dental professionals often suggest dental implants as a long-term solution for individuals who have lost teeth, resulting in gaps between their teeth. The spaces in between teeth can cause various problems, such as bacterial infections, bone loss, and teeth shifting. Dental implants are a highly recommended solution to fill these gaps permanently and prevent any further oral health concerns caused by the gap.
  • Use of Braces: Orthodontic treatment, particularly braces, is the most common and effective solution for correcting gaps and spaces between teeth. It is a versatile treatment that can address alignment issues ranging from mild to severe cases.
  • Dental Bonding: Dental bonding offers a quick and easy solution for minor gaps between front teeth and addressing aesthetic concerns. Your dentist will prepare the tooth surface and apply a tooth-colored bonding material to skillfully cover the gap.
  • Porcelain Veneers: Thin shells, shaped like teeth, are used to cover the surface of teeth and conceal stains, as well as close small gaps between teeth. Porcelain veneers can enhance a smile by transforming flawed teeth into an evenly spaced, perfectly shaped smile in just one visit.

5. Posterior Crossbite

Posterior crossbite is a type of malocclusion or misalignment of teeth where the upper teeth are positioned inside the lower teeth when biting down.
This results in a narrow upper arch and a wider lower arch.

A. Causes of Posterior Crossbite

Posterior crossbite can be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including inherited traits, improper growth of the jaw,
missing teeth, and prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use during childhood. In some cases, a traumatic injury to the jaw can also lead to posterior crossbite.

It is important to diagnose and treat posterior crossbite as it can cause jaw pain, headaches, difficulty in chewing and biting, and uneven wear on teeth.

B. Treatment Options for Posterior Crossbite

The most common treatment option to correct posterior crossbite is orthodontic intervention using an orthodontic device that applies pressure on
both sides of the jaw to expand the upper jaw. The device can either be fixed or removable, depending on the severity of the crossbite and the patient’s age.

Fixed devices like quad-helix, Haas, or Hyrax expander are bonded to the teeth and are ideal for more severe cases. These devices can apply a consistent and controlled amount of pressure to expand the upper jaw, making them an effective and predictable treatment option.

Removable devices like expansion plates are suitable for less severe cases or younger patients. These devices can be taken out of the mouth by
patients and are typically used to facilitate dental arch development, encourage proper tooth eruption, and help establish better jaw function.

In some cases, a combination of both fixed and removable devices may be used to correct posterior crossbite, depending on the specific needs of the patient. The orthodontic treatment can take several months to complete, and once the posterior crossbite is corrected, a retainer may be necessary to maintain the corrected position of the upper jaw.

6. Impacted Canines

Impacted canines occur when the canine teeth, which are located next to the front teeth, are unable to emerge or erupt from the gum line into their
proper position in the dental arch. Canines are the strongest teeth in the human mouth and play an essential role in chewing and biting food. Impacted
canines can cause problems with bite, appearance, and oral health.

A. Causes of Impacted Canines

The most common cause of impacted canines is a lack of sufficient space in the dental arch. Other factors that can lead to impacted canines include
genetic factors, abnormal growth of the jaw, retained baby teeth, and early loss of baby teeth. Additionally, certain dental conditions such as cysts or
tumors can also contribute to impacted canines.

B. Treatment Options for Impacted Canines

The treatment for impacted canines varies depending on the severity of the case. In mild cases, the dentist may recommend monitoring the tooth’s progress to see if it will erupt naturally over time. However, in more severe cases, treatment may be required to prevent further complications.

One common treatment for impacted canines is the use of braces or other orthodontic devices. The braces can be used to apply pressure to the surrounding teeth and encourage the impacted canine to move into its correct position.

In some cases, a surgical procedure may be necessary to expose the impacted tooth and allow it to be guided into position. This procedure, called a canine exposure, involves making a small incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and then attaching a bracket or chain to guide it into place.

In rare cases, if the impacted canine cannot be moved into its correct position or is causing other complications, the dentist may recommend removing the tooth altogether. However, this is typically a last resort and is only recommended when no other treatment options are available.

7. Open Bite

Open bite is a dental condition characterized by a gap or space between the biting surfaces of the front or back teeth when the jaws are closed. In other words, the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, causing an opening or gap in the bite.

A. Causes of Open Bite

The causes of open bite can vary and include genetic factors, prolonged habits such as thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, or prolonged use of a pacifier. It can also be caused by structural issues such as a misaligned jaw or a discrepancy in the size of the upper and lower jaws. Additionally, jaw
fractures, tumor growths, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can also contribute to the development of an open bite.

B. Treatment Options for Open Bite

  1. Braces: Braces are one of the most effective ways to treat an open bite. In this treatment, the orthodontist will use braces to move the teeth into proper alignment. This will involve the use of brackets, wires, and rubber bands to gradually apply pressure and move the teeth. The orthodontist may also use headgear to help correct the bite if necessary.
  2. Surgery: In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the open bite. This is usually done in combination with orthodontic treatment. The type of surgery used will depend on the underlying cause of the open bite. For example, if the open bite is caused by a skeletal issue, orthognathic surgery may be necessary to realign the jaws. The orthodontist will work closely with an oral surgeon to develop a treatment plan that is best suited for the individual patient.

8. Underbite

An underbite, also known as a Class III malocclusion, is a dental condition where the lower jaw protrudes forward, causing the lower front teeth
to overlap the upper front teeth. It is the opposite of an overbite, where the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth.

A. Causes of Underbite

Underbites can be caused by various factors, including genetic predisposition, abnormal jaw growth, missing teeth, and poor oral habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. In some cases, underbites may also be caused by skeletal issues, such as a misaligned jaw or a discrepancy in the
size of the upper and lower jaws

B. Treatment Options for Underbite

  • Orthodontic treatment: Mild to moderate underbites can be treated with orthodontic appliances, such as braces or clear aligners. These appliances gradually move the teeth and jaw into proper alignment. In some cases, the orthodontist may also use rubber bands or other appliances to shift the jaw position.
  • Surgery: Severe cases of underbite may require surgical intervention. Orthognathic surgery is a procedure that involves repositioning the upper
    or lower jaw to correct the bite. This surgery is typically done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment to ensure proper alignment of the
    teeth and jaws. The recovery time for orthognathic surgery can be several weeks or months, and the patient will need to follow a strict diet and
    care plan during that time.

Are you or a family member experiencing orthodontic issues such as crowding, spacing, underbite, or overbite? Look no further than Family Braces for
high-quality dental services. Our team of experienced orthodontists will work with you to find the best treatment options for your needs. Say goodbye to discomfort and embarrassment and hello to a confident smile. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.