Common Orthodontic Problems
Class II problems can be genetic and represent an abnormal bite relationship in which the upper jaw and teeth are located in front of the lower jaw and teeth. A skeletal Class II problem occurs when the upper back molars are positioned in front 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 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.
Pseudo Class III, particularly in younger patients, is a result of habits rather than hereditary factors. A misaligned bite may cause the lower teeth to become positioned ahead of the upper teeth, giving the appearance of a Class III bite. Interceptive treatment is imperative to prevent abnormal growth of both the upper and lower jaws.
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 that can occur simultaneously. Crowding can be the cause or result of other problems, such as impacted teeth, retained teeth (teeth that do not naturally fall out), or crossbite.
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, can also create abnormal spacing.
An open bite can occur with the front teeth (anterior open bite) or with the back teeth (posterior open bite). An anterior open bite is the lack of 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, which keeps the jaw from functioning properly and compromises the ability to chew.
Also known as a deep bite or simply an overbite, incisor overbite is excessive overlapping of the front teeth and is generally found in association with a discrepancy between the length (vertical height) of the upper and lower jaws. It usually results in excessive eruption of the upper or lower incisors, or both.
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 including non-surgical possibilities.
A posterior crossbite will usually result from a narrow upper jaw or abnormally wide lower jaw. This can involve one side of the jaw, known as a unilateral crossbite, or both sides of the jaw, known as a bilateral crossbite. Crossbite can prevent the jaws from coming together smoothly and completely and can also cause difficulty in chewing.