Common Orthodontic Bite Problems Explained

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A common type of orthodontic problem occurs when a person’s teeth or jaws do not fit together properly. These problems, known as malocclusions, can lead to a number of orthodontic issues including speech difficulty, premature teeth and enamel wear, and an increased likelihood of tooth or jaw injury. Thankfully, these problems can be corrected through orthodontic treatment. There are eight common types of malocclusions.


An underbite is best described as a person’s lower jaw extending out beyond the upper jaw. The end result leaves a person’s lower row of teeth in front of their upper row of teeth.


A crossbite is a malocclusion that occurs when a person’s top row of teeth fit inside their bottom row. Generally speaking, a person with this malocclusion must shift their upper row of teeth to the side or forward in order to close their mouth. This can be a serious issue in that a crossbite can lead to misaligned jaw growth and facial asymmetry.

Upper Front Teeth Protrusion

Upper front teeth protrusions differ from most malocclusions in that only a few teeth are in the wrong position as opposed to an entire row of teeth. In this malocclusion the front upper teeth extend too far forward or the front lower teeth do not extend far enough forward.


The inverse of an underbite, an overbite is a malocclusion that involves a person’s upper front teeth extending too far out beyond the lower front teeth. This can occasionally cause the lower teeth to bite into the roof of a person’s mouth. An overbite can lead to excessive wear on a person’s incisors. What’s more, an overbite can give a person a “gummy” smile and protruding lips.


Crowding is a malocclusion that occurs with teeth that do not have sufficient room to protrude from the gums. Crowding is generally considered unattractive and is the most common cause for braces. But the health issues with crowding go beyond aesthetics. Crowding can lead to periodontal problems and is a cause of tooth decay. This is because the surfaces of overlapping teeth are harder to clean.


The inverse of crowding, spacing is a malocclusion that involves too much gum space between teeth. Caused by missing teeth or genetics, spacing is also one of the most common causes for dental braces.


An openbite occurs when the upper front and lower front teeth do not overlap. The end result is a gap between the front teeth even when the back teeth are flush against each other. An openbite should be treated early as it can be a cause of tongue thrusting and thumb sucking among children.

Dental Midlines not Matched

In some cases the top row of teeth simply does not fit within the bottom row. This malocclusion is known as dental midlines not matching. It can have a serious impact on general dental health and jaw function.