Common Problems

In the dental sciences the categorization of "bad bites" is called malocclusions (from Latin mal, meaning "bad", and occludere, to close up). Malocclusions may benefit from early diagnosis and referral to an orthodontic specialist for a full evaluatiaon. Some of the most common malocclusions are described below.


Anterior Crossbite

Anterior Crossbite

In this case, both sides of the bite close normally, but one or more of the lower incisors are positioned in front of the upper incisors. Anterior crossbite is not considered to be hereditary in nature and is usually correctable.


Posterior Crossbite

Posterior Crossbite

Posterior crossbite is the condition in which one or more of the lower back teeth sit outside of the upper back teeth. When it affects one side of the mouth the lower jaw may have to move to one side to allow the back teeth to meet together.


Crowding

Crowding

As the name suggests, crowding is the condition in which several neighboring teeth have overcrowded in a certain area


Open Bite

Open Bite

In this condition, the molars fit together but the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. This creates an opening straight into the mouth. An open bite can also be present on one or both sides of the mouth. This type of malocclusion is usually caused by an oral habit, such as thumb-sucking.


Upper Protrusion

Upper Protrusion (or Overjet)

In an upper protrusion, the upper front teeth are pushed outward (buck teeth). A small lower jaw may be the cause. Pacifier use or thumb-sucking can also create this condition by pushing the teeth outward, sometimes causing the roof of the mouth to change shape (upper palate).


Ectopic Eruption

Ectopic Eruption

Ectopic eruption is a developmental disturbance in the eruption pattern of the permanent dentition. It happens when permanent teeth erupt through gum tissue behind or in front of baby teeth.


Class III

Class III (or Underbite)

In an underbite the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth. Genetics plays a role, but early treatment can help prevent the formation of this malocclusion.


Diastema

Diastema

This is the condition in which there is a slight gap or space between two adjacent teeth. The term is most commonly used to describe open spaces between the upper incisors (front teeth). It happens when there is an unequal relationship between the size of the teeth and the jaw. Diastema is sometimes caused by the pulling action of a labial frenulum (the tissue around the lip) which can push the teeth apart. Some famous diastemics are Condoleezza Rice, David Letterman, Jorja Fox, Madonna, Terry-Thomas, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Deep Bite

Deep Bite

A deep bite or deep overbite occurs when the lower incisor (front) teeth bite too close or into the gum tissue behind the upper teeth. When the lower front teeth bite into the palate or gum tissue behind the upper front teeth, significant bone damage and discomfort can occur. A deep bite can also contribute to excessive wear of the incisor teeth.


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