Crowding simply means that teeth do not fit in a straight line due to lack of space. This is caused by a mismatch between the size and/or number of the teeth and the size of the jaw. Crowding can occur in both arches or in one arch only. Depending on severity of crowding, arches can be widened to accommodate teeth or teeth can be removed to create space.
Spacing, just like crowding is caused by a mismatch between the size and/or number of the teeth and the size of the jaw. Gaps are caused if teeth are very small or if some adult teeth are missing. The spaces can be closed or redistributed with braces. Small spaces can be closed by adding white filling to build-out teeth. Larger spaces can have a implant or bridge to fill the gap.
Normally the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. Cross bite happens when the upper teeth bite the wrong way round against the bottom teeth. This can affect front or back teeth, also one or more teeth. The bite can slide to the side as a result. This can be corrected fairly simply by leaning the lower teeth in and the upper teeth out using braces.
In a normal overbite the edge of lower front teeth meet the middle part of the back of the upper front teeth. So you can see most of the lower front teeth when biting together. In a deep bite the lower teeth are virtually covered by the overlap of the upper front teeth. Occasionally the edge of the front teeth bites onto the gum making it sore. This type of problem is common and can be tricky to correct.
In a normal overbite the edge of lower front teeth meet the middle part of the back of the upper front teeth. Open bite is when the upper and lower front teeth have no vertical overlap when biting together. There may be a gap between the edges of the upper and lower teeth. Thumb-sucking can cause an open bite in the front teeth but it can also happen because of adverse jaw growth. The back teeth can also have an open bite.
Overjet is the prominence of the upper front teeth when biting together which causes them to stick out. This may be because of the teeth themselves or because the lower jaw is small. Braces can tip the upper front teeth back and the lowers forward to correct the problem. In young children overjet can be treated with functional braces which holds the lower jaw forward temporarily to help tip the teeth. In some cases teeth may need to be removed and /or elastics need to be worn.
Reversed overjet is when the lower front teeth are prominent when biting together. Usually the lower jaw is longer than the upper and the problem can worsen with growth of the face in puberty. Mild cases can be corrected with braces alone, sometimes preferable in the pre-teens. More severe problems may need a combination of braces and jaw surgery when growth is complete.
A normal shaped arch gives a wide smile. When the arch is narrow the corners of the smile show dark spaces because the back teeth are hidden. The arch of the teeth is squeezed in the “V” shape rather than a more normal “U” shape. This can affect both upper and/or lower arches. The arches can be widened with braces to correct this to improve the smile and relieve crowding of the teeth.
All baby teeth are normally lost by the age of 12-13 but in some cases could take longer. Over-retained baby teeth should ideally be removed to allow adult teeth to grow in the right place. If the adult teeth start growing out of line then baby teeth do not naturally fall out and need to be removed. Occasionally adult teeth don’t exist and the baby teeth can be kept if the roots are good. Braces can help with all these problems.