Orthodontic Problems: What Does an Incorrect Bite (Malocclusion) Look Like?

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Incorrect tooth position can express themselves in three dimensions:


Crossbite: The most common width problem is a crossbite of the back teeth. When the upper jaw or teeth are too narrow or constricted they fit on the inside of the lower teeth. In the proper width relationship the upper teeth should overlap the lower teeth.


Open bite: You can check to see if your child’s front teeth touch each other when biting down with the back teeth. If they don’t touch an open bite is present. The upper teeth should also be slightly in front of the lower teeth.

Deep bite: If less than half of the lower front teeth are visible when biting down as severe deep bite is present.


Crowding: This is the easiest problem to spot! If you see crowding before all the baby teeth are lost (before age 11-12) your child will likely still have crowding by the time all the permanent teeth have erupted.

Spacing: Spacing present with baby teeth is a good thing! It means there will be room for the larger permanent teeth. If all the permanent teeth are present and spacing still exists, orthodontic treatment will be able to correct this problem.

Overjet: Often called overbite by patients, this means that the upper front teeth stick out too far compared to the lower teeth.

Class II bite: This common problem involves the lower teeth being too far behind the upper teeth. This can be a problem due to the tooth position or to a size discrepancy between the upper and lower jaws. You may be able to spot this by the presence of overjet or the appearance of a small chin.

Class III bite: An easy to spot sign of this rarer bite problem is the presence of an underbite (the lower front teeth are in front of the upper teeth when biting).

At every appointment Dr. Mike monitors the progression of baby tooth loss and looks at all of thefactors listed above. If any of these problems exist, your child will benefit from orthodontic treatment. Dr. Mike will let you know if any of these problems should be addressed before all the permanent teeth come in or if it would be better to wait for braces.

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