Common Orthodontic Issues

Crowding of the teeth

A disharmony between tooth-size and jaw-size can result in crowded, irregular teeth. Crowded teeth can be unattractive and more difficult to clean. They are prone to uneven wear.

Orthodontic treatment usually involves the use of braces which are the most efficient and accurate way of aligning teeth. Sometimes it is necessary to extract teeth to provide sufficient space to allow the teeth to aligned in a stable and harmonious position within the jaws and face.


 
Spaced teeth

Spaces can result from a disharmony between tooth-size and jaw-size or by abnormal tongue thrusting activity. Spaces between the teeth can look unattractive and can interfere with speech.

Orthodontic treatment usually involves the use of braces to align the teeth and to close the spaces. Abnormal tongue activity may result in spacing reoccurring.


 
Protruded Teeth

Protruded teeth result when the position of the upper teeth is forward of the lower teeth. In severe cases, the lower lip may sit behind the upper front teeth and push them further forward to accentuate the disharmony.

Protruded teeth can be unattractive and prone to accidental damage. Often teeth become worn unevenly. Sometimes, the lower front teeth can over-erupt and damage the gum behind the top front teeth.

Orthodontic treatment involves the aligning, levelling, and coordination of both arches with braces. In growing patients, the bite is corrected with headgear, elastics or functional appliances. In severe cases, especially if growth is complete, jaw surgery might be required to correct the jaw disharmony.


 
Underbite

When the lower jaw is forward in relation to the upper jaw, the lower front teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth and an "under-bite" results. An under bite can be unattractive and can cause uneven wear of the front teeth and jaw joint problems.

In mild cases, conventional orthodontic treatment with braces, elastics, and reverse- pull headgear can be used to correct the problem. In more severe cases, jaw surgery is required to correct the bite and to create a more harmonious facial profile.


 
Deep bite

The upper and/or lower front teeth can over-erupt to produce a deep bite. In severe cases, the upper teeth can cover the lower teeth completely.

A deep bite can cause excessive wear of the front teeth and can damage the gum behind the upper front teeth.



Openbite

An open-bite exists when opposing teeth don't meet. An open-bite can cause eating problems and excessive wear of those teeth which do make contact. An open-bite can be unattractive and may be associated with speech problems.

Open-bites may be a result of jaw patterns, or habits such as abnormal tongue behavior or prolonged thumb sucking. Sucking the thumb (or fingers) can produce a localised deformation of the teeth and supporting bone. If the sucking habit has been stopped within an appropriate time, natural improvement can occur.


 
Crossbite

The permanent incisor teeth can erupt in crossbite. Anterior crossbites can cause uneven wear of the teeth and can interfere with normal jaw closure.

Orthodontic treatment involves the use of a fixed or removable appliance to move the offending tooth (or teeth) into a normal position. 



Missing teeth and Chalky molars

Missing teeth usually result in unattractive spaces. Opposing and adjacent teeth can drift into the space to create further problems.

Chalky molars are sometimes bad enough to require extraction, which also may create space-related problmes that affect the rest of the bite. Determining whether to extract such malformed teeth, and when, is a key decision in orthodontics. Read more about chalky teeth here.

Orthodontic treatment involves moving all teeth into correct position, and creating proper space to facilitate replacement of the missing teeth with prostheses. Alternatively, in certain situations, it is possible to close the spaces and avoid having to replace teeth with prostheses.


 
Impacted teeth

Missing teeth usually result in unattractive spaces. Opposing and adjacent teeth can drift into the space to create further problems.

Impacted teeth don't have sufficient space to erupt. Orthodontic treatment involves creating space to allow the impacted tooth to erupt and in some cases, attaching to the impacted tooth and moving it into correct position (see below – ectopic teeth). 



Ectopic teeth

Ectopic teeth are teeth which develop in the wrong position. In most cases, ectopic tooth can be moved into the correct position with braces.

In this particular case, an ectopic canine (eye tooth) was surgically exposed and braces were used to move it into its correct position.

Australian Society of Orthodontists Australian Dental Society American Association of Orthodontists American Board of Orthodontists
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