When there isn’t enough room in the jaw to accommodate all of the teeth, crowding can occur. The teeth might stick out or overlap. It’s typically caused by an imbalance in the jaw to tooth size relationship but may also be the result of primary teeth falling out too early or adult teeth coming in wrong.
Missing teeth, teeth that are too narrow for the jaw, genetics or habits like thumb sucking can cause spacing. While most people are unhappy with how spacing in the teeth looks, it can also lead to bigger problems like poor gum health if not treated.
Overjet is commonly referred to as an overbite. This is when the top front teeth stick out too far beyond the bottom teeth. It leaves them prone to injury and early wear.
There are two types of crossbites: front crossbites and back crossbites. They are both signs that the jaws may be too narrow. When the top front teeth are situated behind the bottom teeth, this is referred to as a front crossbite. When the back top teeth are behind the bottom teeth (like an upside down bite), this is a back crossbite. Patients will often try to compensate for the misalignment and move their jaw to one side, which eventually leads to permanent changes in jaw growth and facial structure if not treated.
If the upper jaw grows more slowly than the lower jaw it can result in an underbite, which is when the bottom teeth are situated in front of the upper teeth. If children are treated while their jaws are still growing it can prevent the need for jaw surgery later in life.
When there is a gap between the upper and lower front teeth and they do not touch, this is referred to as an openbite. It can be the result of habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. An openbite can affect speech and even lead to headaches and jaw pain and the overloading and breakdown of the teeth that are touching, which is why early treatment is beneficial.
Find out how we can help you smile with confidence by scheduling a free consultation with Dr. Kwong.