COMMON ORTHODONTIC PROBLEMS
Crowding occurs when there is insufficient room for all of the teeth to erupt without overlapping. The genes that determine jaw size and tooth size are independent and so sometimes there is a mismatch between the size of the teeth and the space available to accommodate them in the jaws.
Protrusion of upper front teeth
The upper front teeth may sometimes sit too far in front of the lower front teeth, or the lower front teeth may be positioned too far back compared to the upper teeth. This increased protrusion of the upper front teeth relative to the lower front teeth is called an “increased overjet”. Sometimes the upper front teeth sit so far forward that the lips are unable to close around them. This type of bite gives rise to an increased risk of trauma to the upper front teeth, especially if the patient plays contact sports.
A deepbite is when the upper and lower front teeth overlap in the vertical plane more than normal. A deepbite is also called an “increased overbite”. Of all the orthodontic problems a traumatic deep bite has the potential to cause the most problems in adulthood. The upper and lower teeth may overlap so much that with age there can be significant wear of the gums behind the upper front teeth and in front of the lower front teeth. This is not a cosmetic problem but a destructive functional problem. Orthodontic treatment can successful correct these deep bites in a growing patient. Adults can be treated but correction is not as successful in a non-growing patient and some adults require jaw surgery as well as braces for the correction of deepbites.
A crossbite is the name given to the situation where one or multiple upper teeth bite on the inside of the opposing lower teeth. Normally, the upper teeth should fit outside the lower teeth like the lid on a box. Crossbites can affect the front teeth (“anterior crossbites”) or the back/side teeth (“posterior crossbites”). Anterior crossbites can result in gum recession around the lower front affected teeth as the upper teeth push the lower teeth forward out of their supporting gum.
Sometimes teeth do not erupt at the normal time or develop in the incorrect position. X-rays may reveal that these teeth are blocked or off-course. Orthodontic treatment can often successfully bring these teeth into the correct position in the mouth.
Sometimes people do not develop all of their adult teeth. Usually this is genetically determined and a number of genes responsible for missing teeth have now been identified. Often more than one member of the family has missing teeth. Orthodontic treatment may involve closing the space where teeth are missing, or holding the space for an artificial tooth replacement. In some cases, teeth are missing due to poor oral hygiene and extractions.
An openbite refers to the situation where the upper and lower teeth do not meet. Openbites may be caused by finger or thumb-sucking habits. Openbites may cause cosmetic concerns and may problems with speech and eating.