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Common Orthodontic Problems

Orthodontic problems as a whole are described as “malocclusion.” Orthodontic problems can be more than just unattractive, they can lead to tooth damage, make it hard to clean your teeth, and make it hard for you to chew.

This page contains a basic description of some of the most common orthodontic problems, but the best way to find out if you have an orthodontic problem is with an in-person consultation and evaluation. 

Crowded Teeth

Crowded teeth occur when there does not seem to be enough room in the jaw for your teeth. Some teeth will push either forward or back to make room. This can make it hard to clean some teeth, resulting in decay on their obscured surfaces. It can also cause some teeth to experience more wear than others.

Spaced Teeth

Spaced teeth occurs when there seems to be too much room in the jaw for your teeth. Large gaps appear between your teeth. This can be unattractive, and it may allow food to get stuck between your teeth.


Overbite occurs when your upper jaw protrudes significantly over your lower jaw. This can make it hard to chew, and may result in damage to your teeth or gums as your lower teeth can strike the back of upper teeth or your gums.


Underbite occurs when your lower jaw protrudes past your upper jaw. This causes many of the same problems as overbite.

Protuding Teeth

Most common in the upper jaw, this is when your teeth point outward to a significant degree. Protruding teeth are more likely to get damaged from sports or falls and do not properly restrict the growth of lower teeth. Lower teeth can grow larger, resulting in injury or irritation to the top of your mouth.


Crossbite is when some of your teeth fit inside the teeth of the other arch, while others fit outside. For example, if your upper molars are inside your lower molars, but your upper incisors are outside the lower molars. This can make it hard to chew, and can result in increased wear and damage on the teeth where the crossover occurs.


An open bite occurs when your teeth don’t all meet. This can make it difficult to chew and lead to excessive wear and even damage on the teeth that doo meet.

Mid line


This is when the center line of your upper and lower jaws do not coincide. This may be a result of jaw displacement, which means it may be part of significant jaw problems, or it may be just a cosmetic problem.

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