Orthodontic Disorders

Classification of Teeth Overview

For a brief overview of the classification of teeth, please click on the image below. It will launch our flash educational module in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about the classifications of teeth.

Classification of Teeth Overview
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Crossbite

Crossbite can occur in the front and/or the sides of the mouth: One or more upper teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This can occur with a single tooth or multiple teeth. Early correction of crossbite is recommended.

Crossbite should be corrected because it may:

  • cause premature wear of the teeth
  • cause gum disease including bone loss
  • cause asymmetrical development of the jaws
  • cause dysfunctional chewing patterns
  • make your smile less attractive
  • may require surgical intervention (jaw surgery) to correct later in life

Crossbite Before Photo
before
Crossbite Before Picture

Crossbite After Photo
after
Crossbite After Picture

How can a crossbite be
orthodontically corrected?

In children, adolescents and some teens the teeth may be moved with braces into their correct positions. In some cases, a retainer may be utilized. With multiple teeth in crossbite, the upper arch may require expansion with braces or an expander.


Openbite

Openbite side view illustration

Openbite is an insufficient vertical overlap of the teeth in the anterior or posterior regions of the mouth. It may be caused by oral habits such as tongue thrust, digit sucking or when the jaws don’t grow evenly. Timing of treatment is critical to the overall success of the therapy.

How can an openbite be
orthodontically corrected?

Openbite can be corrected through growth modification of the jaws using braces, extrusion of the anterior teeth and in some cases surgical correction of the jaws. Also breaking oral habits, such as digit sucking, will facilitate the correction of an openbite.

Openbite Before Photo
before

Openbite After Photo
after

 


Overbite

Overbite side view illustration

Class II Overbite

Overbite occurs when the upper front teeth protrude over the lower front teeth. Generally there is no contact between the upper and lower front teeth. Often you cannot see the lower incisors. Overbite is due to a disproportionate amount of eruption of front teeth or over development of the bone that supports the teeth and a front to back discrepancy in the growth of the upper or lower jaw (Class II Relationship). Overbite is also known as a deep bite.

Overbite should be corrected because it may:

  • cause improper functioning of your front teeth
  • result in the lower front teeth biting into the gum tissue of the upper palate leading to tissue problems
  • unusual wear of the lower front teeth
  • cause jaw or joint problems
  • make your smile less attractive
  • may require surgical intervention to correct later in life

Overbite Before Photo
before

Overbite After Photo
after

How can an overbite be
orthodontically corrected?

Overbite can be corrected through moving the front teeth up and/or bringing the back teeth together, which will “open” the bite so the teeth are properly aligned and the deep bite is eliminated.


Overjet

Overjet side view illustration

Class II Overjet

Overjet is also known as protrusion. In this case, the lower teeth are too far behind the upper front teeth. This can be caused by an improper alignment of the molars (Class II Relationship), a skeletal imbalance of the upper and lower jaw; flared upper incisors, missing lower teeth or a combination of all the above. In addition, oral habits such as thumb sucking, finger sucking or tongue thrusting can exacerbate the condition.

Overjet should be corrected because it may:

  • prevent proper functioning of the front teeth
  • lead to premature wear
  • make your smile less attractive
  • adversely affect speech and mastication

Overjet Before Photo
before

Overjet After Photo
after

How can overjet be
orthodontically corrected?

Overjet may be corrected through growth modification using a functional appliance such as headgear or elastics, the extraction of teeth, jaw surgery, or a combination of dental extractions and jaw surgery. 


Underbite

Class III Underbite

Underbite side view illustration

The lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. An underbite may be caused by a relatively shorter upper jaw, unfavorable growth of the lower jaw (too long relative to the upper jaw), or a combination of the two (Class III Relationship). An Underbite can also be caused by retracted or retruded upper incisors, flared lower incisors, or a combination of all the above. Early correction of underbite is recommended if possible.

Underbite should be corrected because it may:

  • prevent proper functioning of the front teeth or molars
    which can lead to premature wear of the teeth
  • cause chewing or eating problems
  • cause jaw or joint problems
  • make your smile less attractive

Underbite Before Photo
before

Underbite After Photo
after

How can an underbite be orthodontically corrected?

An Underbite may be corrected through growth modification of the upper jaw, extraction of specific teeth and in some cases, surgical correction of the jaws. If an underbite is caused by an underlying skeletal dysplasia, jaw surgery most likely may be the optimal option for predictable correction.