6 Common Orthodontic Problems and How They Are Fixed

6 common orthodontic problems and how they are fixed
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Whether you feel confident or self-conscious about your smile greatly impacts how you move through the world. You want to laugh and grin freely—without worrying about your teeth! However, many of our patients at Bristol Dental Clinic in Mississauga experience misaligned teeth (malocclusion) and other related orthodontic issues.

More importantly, these orthodontic problems don’t just affect the quality of your smile. They also come with potentially negative consequences for your oral health. If your teeth or jaw are misaligned, it can cause discomfort, difficulty chewing, speech problems, and an increased risk of tooth decay and disease.

Fortunately, there are many treatments available for malocclusion. Here are six of the most common orthodontic problems experienced by patients and how they are fixed.

1. Underbite

When the lower jaw overlaps the upper jaw, it’s called an underbite. The severity can vary significantly. In some cases, the two rows of teeth almost meet. Other patients have a more pronounced underbite where the lower teeth protrude severely.

If you have a minor underbite, you might not require treatment. This is because slight underbites do not always impact the function of the mouth. It’s likely that your chin juts out more than normal; however, you may not experience any discomfort or issues eating.

On the other hand, serious underbites can have negative consequences and usually require treatment. You may experience difficulty chewing, lapsing, slurred speech, crooked teeth, jaw pain, gum disease, and trouble breathing. Additionally, it can be harder to keep certain teeth clean with an underbite, thus leading to tooth decay.


Genetics, prolonged bottle feeding, and thumb sucking are the most common causes of underbites.


Braces can be used to pull the teeth back and correct the underbite. Alternatively, your orthodontist may remove several teeth to give the rest of your teeth more space or shave down the teeth that are jutting out. In severe cases, corrective surgery is required to reshape the jawbone.

2. Overbite

An overbite is the inverse of an underbite. Instead of the lower jaw protruding, the upper teeth jut out.

As with underbites, not all overbites require treatment. In minor cases, the chin simply looks smaller than the upper jaw. Severe overbites, on the other hand, can make chewing and speaking difficult. Your teeth may be crooked, you can experience jaw pain, and you might have difficulty breathing. Tooth decay is another possible outcome.


Genetics, thumb sucking, an underdeveloped lower jaw, teeth grinding, nail-biting, and tongue-thrusting can cause overbites.


Overbites are treated in much the same way as underbites. Braces and the removal of certain teeth are common. In children, overbites can be corrected using palate expanders that alter the shape of the growing jaw. However, surgery may be required in severe cases.

3. Crossbite

A crossbite is similar to an underbite in that the lower teeth protrude when the mouth is closed. However, crossbites only affect certain groups of teeth. For example, posterior crossbites are when the lower molars jut out over the upper molars. With anterior crossbones, the lower teeth at the front of the mouth fit over the upper teeth.


Genetics, thumb sucking, oversized tonsils, and delayed loss of baby teeth can cause crossbites.


Braces, retainers, and palate expanders can correct crossbites by pulling the teeth into the proper position. Severe instances may require surgery.

4. Overjet

It’s easy to mistake an overbite for an overjet. In overbites, the upper teeth hang over the lower teeth. Whereas in patients with an overjet, groups of teeth protrude at an angle.

If you have an overjet, you can experience jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and speech problems. Additionally, you may struggle to close your lips fully and find yourself constantly biting your inner cheek.


Genetics, thumb-sucking habits, and jaw size discrepancies can cause overjets.


Braces and clear aligners treat overjets by gradually moving the teeth into the proper position. In other cases, some teeth may be removed, or teeth may be replaced. Veneers, dental bonding, and crowns can also be used to hide teeth in the wrong place.

5. Crowding

Crowding is one of the most common orthodontic issues. It occurs when there is not enough room in the jaw for all of your teeth.

When there isn’t enough room, teeth can emerge crooked or overlap with one another. Misaligned teeth are difficult to brush and floss, increasing the likelihood of plaque, tartar, cavities, and tooth decay. It also impacts the aesthetic of your smile.


Genetics, abnormal tooth eruption, tongue-thrusting, and early or late loss of baby teeth can lead to overcrowding. Periodontal disease and dental trauma are also possible causes.


Braces, retainers, and palate expanders are frequently used to correct overcrowding in children. Baby teeth may also be extracted to make room for adult teeth. In adults, on the other hand, braces and clear aligners can be used. Orthognathic surgery may be recommended in severe cases.

6. Spacing

Spacing, also known as diastema, is when there are abnormal spaces or gaps between teeth. The most obvious example is a gap between the two front teeth. However, spacing can occur anywhere in the mouth.

Treatment is not always required for spacing since it is often a purely cosmetic issue. Additionally, spacing in children can resolve itself. There may be too much space between the baby teeth, but the gaps can disappear when the adult teeth emerge.

In severe cases, gaps can affect your bite, causing difficulties with eating, speech, and oral hygiene.


Genetics, abnormal tooth development, incorrect tooth size, tooth loss, and tongue-thrusting can cause gaps to appear between teeth.


There are several ways to address spacing. Braces and aligners can treat mild and severe spacing cases by moving teeth into the proper positions. Dental implants can be used to permanently fill gaps between teeth. Porcelain veneers and dental bonding can also create the look of evenly spaced teeth.

Orthodontic Treatment in Mississauga

Bristol Dental Clinic in Mississauga offers a range of orthodontic treatments for those experiencing malocclusion. If your teeth or jaw are misaligned, it can affect your overall oral health and the quality of your smile. Your orthodontist at Bristol Dental Clinic can recommend the best treatment to restore the look and functionality of your teeth.

To learn more about orthodontic treatment in Mississauga, call Bristol Dental Clinic at 866-673-2109 or contact us here.

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