Just for Patients

Common Problems

When a person’s teeth or jaw structure do not fit together properly, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to straighten teeth and promote ideal function.  These problems, often referred to as malocclusions (or bad bites), can cause speech difficulty, premature wear of the teeth and protective enamel, and even increase the chance of injury to teeth and jaw joints, if left untreated.

Underbite

Correcting an underbite early, between ages 5 and 10 can often prevent the need for jaw surgery later.

Spacing

Spaces can be easily retained to remain closed long term.

Protrusion

Excess protrusion is usually an indication of a Class II bite. Correcting a Class II Bite into a Class I bite is critical to a good orthodontic result.

Crowding

“Orthodontics” (“Ortho” means straight, “dont” means teeth). That’s what most people associate with what we do.

Posterior Crossbite

Normally, your upper jaw is wider than your lower jaw, similar to the lid of a box. A posterior Crossbite is when the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw. A Crossbite, if detected early, can easily be treated with a palatal expansion appliance. However if the Crossbite is not corrected by the adolescent growth spurt the Orthodontist must use a special expander with the assistance of an Oral Surgeon to do jaw surgery. Early treatment is therefore indicated to prevent problems with asymmetric jaw growth, TMJ and airway problems.

Overbite

A deep bite, also known as an overbite, is when the top teeth overlap most the lower teeth. Sometimes it can be so severe as to impinge on the roof of the mouth. In the worst case scenario, a deep bite can result in permanent damage and loss of teeth.

Open Bite

Habits such as thumb or finger sucking or tongue thrusting, can lead to an open bite. The front teeth, the incisors, are meant to tear or incise food, and if they cannot, this is a significant functional problem. Thumb sucking does not cause permanent problems with open bites as long as the habit is corrected by age 5 ½, or before the permanent incisors start erupting through the gums. In an older child, as in the above example, oral surgery was necessary along with orthodontics, to correct the open bite.

Midlines Off

In most cases the upper and lower midlines will line up when we get the bite on.

Tongue Thrusting

The average person swallows 900 times per day. If they have a tongue thrust swallow the upper and lower front teeth get pushed apart. It is important for the Orthodontist to help the patient break this habit.

Thumb or Finger Sucking

Thumb or finger sucking must be corrected by age 5 ½. If not, the position of the teeth and the shape of the mouth becomes more severely deformed with each passing year and can become so severe, depending on the frequency, duration and intensity of the sucking, that even jaw surgery and orthodontics may not be adequate to totally fix the malocclusion.