An orthodontist corrects issues such as crooked teeth to create a beautiful smile and healthy jaw alignment. The medical term for an orthodontic problem is a malocclusion, meaning “bad bite”. A malocclusion is the commonest reason to see an Orthodontist.
You should seek out the opinion of a Specialist Orthodontist if teeth are visibly misaligned, there is difficulty chewing or biting, speech issues, teeth clenching or grinding, or jaws that shift or make sounds.
Untreated orthodontic problems may worsen over time, leading to difficulty brushing teeth and a risk of tooth decay and gum diseases.
Early treatment of these problems may be easier, quicker and less costly than the restorative orthodontic and dental care required to treat more serious problems that can develop in later years. Read more about the benefits of orthodontic treatment.
Why do we get jaw and teeth problems?
Most orthodontic problems are inherited, although some can be acquired in the process of everyday life. Jaw and teeth problems can be caused by accidents, early or late loss of baby teeth, or sucking of the thumb or fingers for a prolonged period of time.
Common orthodontic problems:
Crowding &/or Spacing of teeth
These dental problems occur when your jaws line up, but your teeth do not. You may have teeth that are:
too far apart, or
too close together
All of which can result in poor alignment, making it difficult to clean teeth which could lead to gum problems.
Overjet or “Buck Teeth”
The correct term for ‘buck teeth’ or ‘rabbit teeth’ is overjet. It occurs when the upper jaw grows too much and sticks out, or when the lower jaw does not grow enough. This could make it hard to chew properly, affecting the digestion of food.
This type of orthodontic problem is less common. It occurs when the lower jaw has outgrown the upper jaw. When you bite together your upper teeth sit in behind your lower teeth, making it hard to chew properly.
Crossbite can occur when the upper and lower jaws are both misaligned. It causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, and can happen on both the front and the sides of the mouth. This can cause wear of the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.
If you have an openbite, it means your back teeth bite together but your front teeth don’t; in other words, when your jaw is closed, there is gap between your top and bottom teeth. This creates difficulty with eating, biting and chewing as the upper and lower front teeth aren’t closing or biting together. This can cause wearing down of your back or posterior teeth.
An overbite or deepbite is where your upper jaw bites down too far over your lower jaw and may be biting into the lower gum and your lower teeth can be biting up into the gum behind your upper teeth. This could lead to tooth loss from wearing down of your teeth.