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General Information

3. What are the most commonly treated orthodontic problems? 


Overjet or protruding upper front teeth: Upper front teeth that protrude (stick out) beyond normal contact with the lower front teeth are prone to fracture. In addition, upper protrusion of the front teeth often indicates a poor bite of the back teeth (molars), and may indicate disproportionate upper and lower jaw growth. Commonly, protruded upper front teeth are associated with a lower jaw that is either too short or too small in proportion to the upper jaw. Thumb and finger sucking habits can also cause a protrusion of the upper front teeth. 

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

Open bite: An open bite results when the upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting down. This open space between the upper and lower front teeth causes all the chewing pressure to be placed on the back teeth. This excessive biting pressure and rubbing together of the back teeth makes chewing less efficient and may contribute to significant tooth wear and jaw joint problems.

Spacing: If teeth are missing or small, or the jawbone is very wide, space between the teeth can occur. The most common complaint from individuals with excessive space in either the upper or lower jawbone is poor appearance. 

Crossbite: The most common type of crossbite is when the upper back teeth bite incorrectly inside the lower back teeth (toward the tongue). Crossbites can occur with the front teeth, too. Although crossbites can be successfully corrected by orthodontic treatment at any time, crossbites of both the back teeth and the front teeth are often best corrected at an early age when the jawbones are most accommodating to change. 

Underbite or lower jaw protrusion: About three to five percent of the population has a lower jaw that is to some degree either larger or longer than the upper jaw. This may cause the lower front teeth to protrude (stick out) ahead of the upper front teeth creating a crossbite. Individuals with this type of bite should have their tooth development and jaw growth carefully monitored by Dr. Hendrix.

Bruxism: Bruxism is an abnormal jaw muscle pattern that causes one to habitually grind or clench the teeth, particularly at night. Bruxism can cause severe wear of the teeth and may eventually overload and traumatize the jaw joint structures. 

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