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Common Problems

Thumb Sucking:  Babies suck their thumbs to soothe and calm themselves, which is fine (and often welcomed by exhausted parents). However, when harmless thumb sucking develops into a habit, misalignment of the teeth or deformation of the jaw can result. Thumb sucking can cause the upper front teeth to protrude, the lower front teeth to tip back and the bite to move into an overbite, openbite or a crossbite. All of these issues caused by thumb sucking require orthodontic correction.

Underbite: Underbites result from a lower jawline that extends beyond the upper teeth giving a “bulldog” appearance. Braces correct underbites by realigning the upper and lower teeth creating a more balanced look.

Spacing: Some people have excess space between their front and or back teeth that needs to be closed with braces. Gaps can sometimes be caused by smaller than average or irregularly shaped teeth.

Upper Front Teeth Protrusion: When the upper teeth jut out too far forward over the lower teeth, a patient is classified with upper front protrusion. Protrusion can also happen when the lower teeth do not extend out as far as they should. Orthodontic treatment is used to correct this issue.

Crowding: When the teeth do not have enough room to erupt from the gum, dental crowding results. This problem can occur for a number of reasons, ranging from an incongruity between jaw and teeth size to impacted or retained teeth. Crowding is an extremely common orthodontic problem that can be corrected in a variety of ways depending upon the complexity of the case.

Crossbite: A correct bite aligns the upper teeth slightly over the lower teeth. When some of the upper teeth, but not all, are on the inside of the lower teeth, a crossbite results. A crossbite can involve several teeth or even just one tooth. Crossbites typically result from a tooth bud pointing in the wrong direction or when there is not enough space for a tooth to erupt.

Overbite: When the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much, an overbite results.  Varying degrees of overbites exist, which can be corrected with a range of appliances from rubber bands to headgears. Overbites can sometimes cause the chin to look small or recessed. In these cases, correcting the overbite makes the chin look more proportional to the patient’s face.

Open Bite: When both the front upper and lower teeth are forced outwards, an open bite results. The teeth of the upper and lower jaw are not able to touch, even when the mouth is closed. Both the front and back teeth are affected. Open bites are typically caused by actions that put a strain on the alignment of the teeth, such as thumb sucking, pacifier use, tongue thrusting or chewing on objects.

Dental Midlines Not Matched: The dental midline is an imaginary vertical line between your two upper front teeth and your two lower front teeth. Ideally, the line between your two top front teeth and two bottom front teeth should match up with each other, the center of your nose and the midpoint between your eyes. When this does not happen, your dental midlines do not match. Jaw and normal dental function can be affected.

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