Common Orthodontic Concerns
As certified specialists in orthodontics, Dr. Noorda and Dr. Okuda are experts in treating malocclusions, or issues with the spacing, positioning or alignment of the teeth and jaws. While every patient is unique, here are the smile concerns we see most often at our Henderson orthodontic practice:
An overbite, sometimes called overjet, is when the top teeth stick out too far in front of the bottom teeth. Almost everyone has some degree of an overbite. However, if the space is too large, your upper front teeth are more prone to injury and you can experience excessive wear and discomfort.
An underbite occurs when the upper teeth sit behind the bottom teeth. It can be the result of the upper and lower jaw growing at different rates. Because an underbite is a skeletal problem, it’s best to treat it early on while a patient is still growing. We can use appliances to advance the bottom teeth during childhood, which can prevent the need for surgical correction down the road. If not treated, an underbite can cause problems with speaking, chewing and uneven wear of the teeth.
Crowding is when there isn’t enough space in the jaw for all of the teeth fit properly. The teeth might overlap, be shifted out of line or become twisted. Crowding can be caused by the premature loss of baby teeth, an imbalance in the tooth-to-jaw-size ratio or the permanent teeth erupting incorrectly. Crowded teeth are more difficult to brush and floss, which is why crowding can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
If you have gaps between two or more teeth, we refer to it as spacing. Spacing can occur when the teeth are too narrow for the jaw or it can be due to oral habits like thumb sucking or missing teeth. Spacing is more than just a cosmetic concern; it can also have a negative effect on the health of your gums.
A patient is said to have a crossbite if some of the top teeth are inside of the bottom teeth when the jaws are closed. There are front crossbites and back crossbites. Trauma, the premature loss of baby teeth, genetics or certain oral habits can lead to a crossbite. Patients often compensate for a crossbite by moving their jaw to one side. This can cause permanent changes in facial structure, which is why early diagnosis and treatment are key.
An open bite is when the upper and lower teeth don’t come together when the mouth is closed. It can interfere with chewing and biting foods, as well as lead to other issues. An open bite may be genetic or it can be caused by oral habits, including tongue thrusting or prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use.