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Common Problems

The term “malocclusion” (poor bite) refers to a number of possible conditions. A malocclusion is a misalignment or incorrect relations between the teeth of the two dental arches when the jaws close. There are several types of malocclusions that can be detected by the age of 7 and may benefit from early orthodontic treatment.

Some of the most common malocclusions are as follows:

Dental Crossbite

In a dental crossbite one or more of the upper front teeth are positioned inside of the lower teeth when biting down. This type of malocclusion is not considered to be hereditary. Oftentimes in children, it is caused by over-retention of a primary tooth. To correct the problem, partial braces or a combination of an expander with partial braces will be necessary.

Posterior Crossbite

In a posterior crossbite, the upper back teeth are positioned inside of the lower jaw when biting down. When it affects one side of the mouth, the lower jaw shifts to one side and one or more of the lower back teeth sit outside of the upper back teeth. To correct the problem, a palatal expander will be necessary.


In a crowded bite, teeth will be rotated and overlapped. The lack of space is due to a tooth size- arch length discrepancy. This may lead to impacted permanent teeth as there is not enough room for them to erupt properly. To correct the problem, expanders are typically needed. Sometimes, this is done in conjunction with removal of select primary teeth.

Open Bite

In an open bite, the back teeth touch each other but the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. An open bite that is present on one or both sides of the mouth is called a lateral open bite. An open bite can be caused by an oral habit, such as thumb-sucking or tongue thrusting. In some cases, it can be due to the skeletal makeup of the patient. An early evaluation is very important to help get rid of any habits or to intercept any jaw development issues.

Overjet or Upper Protrusion

When a patient has significant overjet, they are three times more likely to chip or knock out a front tooth than someone with a normally developing bite. When there is significant overjet it can be caused by the upper front teeth that are pushed outward or a recessive lower jaw. Pacifier use or thumb-sucking can lead to this condition by pushing the teeth outward. There are several different treatments to correct this problem. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your options!

Ectopic Eruption

Ectopic eruption is a condition where a permanent tooth takes an incorrect path to erupt. In the above picture, a permanent molar has erupted forward of its normal position and is causing damage to the baby tooth in front of it. To correct this problem, an appliance will be used to move the permanent molar back to its correct position once the primary molar is removed.

Underbite or Class III bite

When a patient has an underbite or Class III bite, the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth. This can be due to a skeletal imbalance or just a tooth position problem. It is very important that patients with an underbite start interceptive orthodontic treatment early so that we can attempt to avoid jaw surgery in the future.

Spacing between teeth

When spacing exists between teeth, there is a tooth size-jaw size discrepancy present. When a patient with spacing chews their food, the pressure of the food against the gums between the teeth can cause tissue loss and bone loss over time. Also, if the spaces are sizable, it can cause lisping when speaking. Therefore, it is important have orthodontic treatment in order to close the spaces.

Overbite or Deep Bite

An overbite or deep bite occurs when the upper front teeth vertically cover over the bottom teeth in an excessive manner. If the overbite is severe, the lower front teeth may impinge on the gum tissue behind the upper front teeth and can cause significant tissue and bone damage. If the bottom front teeth contact the inside of the upper front teeth, enamel damage may also occur.