Common Orthodontic Diagnoses
Class II Malocclusion
Class II problems represent an abnormal bite relationship in which the upper jaw and teeth are located in front of the lower jaw and teeth. Class II patients usually exhibit a convex facial profile with a recessed chin. In most cases, this relationship is due to inherited characteristics.
Class III Malocclusion
Class III problems are also primarily genetic in origin. In this instance, the lower jaw and teeth are positioned in front of the upper jaw and teeth. The lower jaw may appear to be excessively large, but in many cases the lack of upper jaw development is at fault. Several treatment options are available to correct a Class III problem.
Crowding of the teeth is probably the most common orthodontic problem. Although many factors contribute to dental crowding, this problem typically stems from a discrepancy between the space in each jaw and the size of the teeth. Crowding is often one of several orthodontic problems. Crowding can be the cause or result of other problems, such as impacted teeth, retained teeth or teeth that do not naturally fall out. Crossbite of the front or back teeth can also cause the teeth to become crowded.
Spaces between the teeth are another common problem in orthodontic patients. Like crowding, spacing may be related to a tooth-to-jaw size disharmony. Spacing may occur between the front and the back teeth. Tooth size discrepancies, such as smaller teeth or abnormally shaped teeth, can also create abnormal spacing.
An openbite can occur with the front teeth, known as an anterior openbite, or with the back teeth, referred to as a posterior openbite. An anterior openbite is the lack of vertical overlap of the front teeth and can usually be traced to jaw disharmony or habits such as thumb sucking or the thrusting of the tongue against the front teeth. A posterior openbite is a problem in which the back teeth do not meet vertically, which keeps the jaw from functioning properly.
Also known as an overbite, a deep bite is excessive vertical overlapping of the front teeth.
Excessive Gingival Display
Also known as a gummy smile, this orthodontic problem gives the appearance of excessively exposed gums in the upper jaw.
A posterior crossbite will usually result from a narrow upper jaw or abnormally wide lower jaw. A narrow upper jaw will often force a patient to move the lower jaw forward or to the side when biting. When closed into this position, the lower teeth are located outside the upper teeth. A posterior crossbite can involve one side of the jaw, known as a unilateral crossbite, or both sides of the jaw, known as a bilateral crossbite.
Whether missing teeth since birth, or due to teeth that needed to be extracted for other reasons, orthodontists will work with your restorative dentist to determine the best overall game plan to address the missing teeth. Sometimes spaces can be easily closed with braces alone, whereas other times, an implant-supported dental crown might be indicated.