Maria A Lewis DMD 
Gordon D Barfield

Common Orthodontic Problems

 We are frequently asked what type of dental problems are appropriate for orthodontic correction. Orthodontics (and dentofacial orthopedics) can address any number of issues relating to the alignment, positions, and relationships between the teeth and the facial structures (jaws). Some of the more common problems we encounter daily are discussed below.

 Dental crowding commonly occurs when the available space within the jaws is inadequate for the sizes of the teeth present.

 Dental spacing (gaps) occurs when the available space to house the teeth is too great or when the teeth are unusually small. 

 Overbite  occurs when the vertical or horizontal relationships of the front teeth are incorrect. A special type of overbite called deep bite occurs when the upper front teeth completely cover the lower teeth, sometimes biting into the roof of the mouth behind the top teeth.

 Underbite  is the description given when the lower front teeth are in front of (rather than behind) the upper teeth. This condition commonly occurs in individuals with abnormally small upper jaws, or abnormally large lower jaws.

 Openbite occurs when the teeth do not touch one another when biting down fully. Openbite can occur in the front, sides, or back of the mouth, or in any combination.

 Missing or extra teeth are relatively common in humans. It is thought that genetics is responsibl
e for almost all cases, however, teeth are occasionally lost due to dental disease and or trauma.

 Jaw growth disproportion occurs in some individuals, and commonly occurs in addition to any number of other orthodontic problems. Common subtypes are 1) weak or recessive upper or lower jaw, 2) overgrown or strong upper or lower jaw, 3) excessively "long" or "short" facial form, 4) asymmetric facial growth, and 5) dentofacial deformity which many times manifests as a "syndrome" of many different types of problems. 

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