Common Orthodontic Problems
Class II problems represent abnormal bite relationships in which the upper jaw and teeth project ahead of the lower jaw called “overjet”. Class II patients usually exhibit a convex facial profile with a deficient chin prominence. Typically, a Class II problem is inherited. Persistent thumbsucking can also aggravate these problems. Correcting of this disorder generally requires influencing facial growth to bring the upper and lower jaws and teeth to their proper position.
Class III problems are primarily genetic in origin. In this instance, the lower jaw and teeth are displaced to the front of the upper jaw and teeth and is commonly referred to as an underbite. In many cases, the deficient growth of the upper jaw is at fault.
Posterior crossbites usually result from a constricted upper jaw or unusually wide lower jaw. A narrow upper jaw will often force a patient to move their lower jaw forward or to the side when closing into a stable bite. When closed into this accommodated position, the lower teeth are located outside the upper teeth. This posturing may result in an incorrect functional position of the lower jaw with accompanying facial asymmetry.
Crowding of the teeth is the most common problem associated with the need for orthodontic care. Although many factors contribute to the dental crowding, this problem usually stems from a discrepancy between space available in each jaw and the size of the teeth. Aside from aesthetic considerations, poor alignment of teeth may be associated with periodontal problems and increased risk of dental decay due to difficulty in maintaining proper oral hygiene.
A lack of vertical overlap of the incisor teeth can usually be traced to jaw disharmony, persistent habits (i.e. thumb sucking and posturing of the tongue between the front teeth) or excessive vertical growth of one or both jaws. Early assessment and intervention is critical to the overall success of treating these disorders.
Spaces between teeth are another common problem associated with the need for orthodontic care. Like crowding, spacing may be related to a tooth-to-jaw size disharmony. Gum tissue attachment called “frenum” is also a common cause of spacing between the front teeth. Excessive vertical overlap of the front teeth as well as incisor protrusion may lead to spacing. Other contributing factors include atypical or unusually narrow teeth, and missing or impacted teeth.