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Learn about common orthodontic issues Common Problems

There is a range of common orthodontic problems. If any of these look familiar or you have any questions about your or your child’s bite or teeth, we recommend you contact your local orthodontist for a consultation. You can use our tool here to help you find a registered orthodontist. You don't need a referral to see an orthodontist

Crowding

This happens when there is not enough space in the jaws to accommodate all of the teeth. Without enough space to erupt normally the teeth can come through rotated, crooked or in severe cases the tooth may not come through at all (this is called an impacted tooth). Crowded teeth can be unattractive, difficult to clean and can create problems with chewing and biting.

Spacing

Spacing occurs when the teeth are relatively small compared to the size of the jaw or because of missing adult teeth.

Anterior Crossbite

The upper teeth should fit outside the lower teeth. An anterior crossbite is when one or more of the upper front teeth bite on the wrong side of the lower teeth. If the anterior crossbite is not addressed it can damage the gums on the lower front teeth as the bigger, stronger top teeth push the lower teeth forward.

Posterior Crossbite

A posterior crossbite is when one or more of the upper back teeth bite inside the lower teeth. It occurs when the upper jaw is too narrow. It can cause the lower jaw to swing to one side (this is called a "functional shift").

Increased Overjet

An increased overjet (often called 'buck teeth') is when the upper front teeth are too far in front of the lower teeth. There is an increased risk of trauma to the upper front teeth, especially if the patient plays contact sport.

Reverse Overjet

A reverse overjet (underbite) means the lower front teeth bite in front of the upper front teeth. 

Deep Bite

A deep bite (overbite) is where there is too much overlap of the top teeth. It can result in wear on the teeth and damage to the gums. The type of orthodontic treatment for a deep bite will depend on the severity of the problem and the age of the patient.

Open Bite

An open bite exists when the upper and lower front teeth don't meet. It is very common in children who suck their thumbs or fingers, but can also be due to the growth pattern of the upper and lower jaws. 

Impacted Teeth

An impacted tooth is one that doesn't come through at all. This can be due to a severe lack of space (crowding) or because the tooth has developed in the wrong position (ectopic). The most common teeth to develop in the wrong position are the upper eye teeth (canines), as shown on the x-ray above.

Submerged Tooth

Submergence occurs when the baby teeth appear to sink down into the gum over time. This can create problems with the surrounding adult teeth.

Thumb and Finger Sucking Habits

Thumb or finger sucking is a natural reflex for a baby that may begin before they are even born and is considered to be a normal feature of a young child's development. However, if the habit continues once the adult teeth start coming through, there is the potential for this to move teeth and cause orthodontic problems.

Missing Teeth

Sometimes people don't develop all their permanent teeth. It is a genetic issue and can often run in families. There are a number of treatment options for missing permanent teeth which your orthodontist can help you to understand.  

You don't need a referral from a dentist or dental therapist if you are concerned. Your local orthodontist will be happy to provide an assessment and recommend treatment options.

  • Common Problems
  • Crowding
  • Spacing
  • Anterior Crossbite
  • Posterior Crossbite
  • Increased Overjet
  • Reverse Overjet
  • Deep Bite
  • Open Bite
  • Impacted Teeth
  • Submerged Tooth
  • Thumb and Finger Sucking Habits
  • Missing Teeth

Common Problems

There is a range of common orthodontic problems. If any of these look familiar or you have any questions about your or your child’s bite or teeth, we recommend you contact your local orthodontist for a consultation. You can use our tool here to help you find a registered orthodontist. You don't need a referral to see an orthodontist


Crowding



This happens when there is not enough space in the jaws to accommodate all of the teeth. Without enough space to erupt normally the teeth can come through rotated, crooked or in severe cases the tooth may not come through at all (this is called an impacted tooth). Crowded teeth can be unattractive, difficult to clean and can create problems with chewing and biting.


Spacing



Spacing occurs when the teeth are relatively small compared to the size of the jaw or because of missing adult teeth.


Anterior Crossbite



The upper teeth should fit outside the lower teeth. An anterior crossbite is when one or more of the upper front teeth bite on the wrong side of the lower teeth. If the anterior crossbite is not addressed it can damage the gums on the lower front teeth as the bigger, stronger top teeth push the lower teeth forward.


Posterior Crossbite



A posterior crossbite is when one or more of the upper back teeth bite inside the lower teeth. It occurs when the upper jaw is too narrow. It can cause the lower jaw to swing to one side (this is called a "functional shift").


Increased Overjet





An increased overjet (often called 'buck teeth') is when the upper front teeth are too far in front of the lower teeth. There is an increased risk of trauma to the upper front teeth, especially if the patient plays contact sport.



Reverse Overjet



A reverse overjet (underbite) means the lower front teeth bite in front of the upper front teeth. 


Deep Bite



A deep bite (overbite) is where there is too much overlap of the top teeth. It can result in wear on the teeth and damage to the gums. The type of orthodontic treatment for a deep bite will depend on the severity of the problem and the age of the patient.


Open Bite



An open bite exists when the upper and lower front teeth don't meet. It is very common in children who suck their thumbs or fingers, but can also be due to the growth pattern of the upper and lower jaws. 


Impacted Teeth

An impacted tooth is one that doesn't come through at all. This can be due to a severe lack of space (crowding) or because the tooth has developed in the wrong position (ectopic). The most common teeth to develop in the wrong position are the upper eye teeth (canines), as shown on the x-ray above.


Submerged Tooth



Submergence occurs when the baby teeth appear to sink down into the gum over time. This can create problems with the surrounding adult teeth.


Thumb and Finger Sucking Habits

Thumb or finger sucking is a natural reflex for a baby that may begin before they are even born and is considered to be a normal feature of a young child's development. However, if the habit continues once the adult teeth start coming through, there is the potential for this to move teeth and cause orthodontic problems.


Missing Teeth



Sometimes people don't develop all their permanent teeth. It is a genetic issue and can often run in families. There are a number of treatment options for missing permanent teeth which your orthodontist can help you to understand.  



You don't need a referral from a dentist or dental therapist if you are concerned. Your local orthodontist will be happy to provide an assessment and recommend treatment options.