Common Orthodontic Problems and How to Fix Them

This blog will explore individuals' most prevalent orthodontic problems and effective methods to address them. Whether you're experiencing crowding, an overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, misaligned midline, spacing issues, impacted teeth, or even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, we've got you covered.  


Crowding is one of the most common orthodontic problems faced by individuals seeking dental treatment. It occurs when the jaw has insufficient space to accommodate all the teeth adequately. As a result, the teeth become crowded, overlapped, or twisted, leading to various dental complications.  

Causes of Crowding  

Crowding can arise due to genetic factors and developmental issues. Some common causes include:  

  1. Jaw Size Discrepancy: When the jaw size is too small in proportion to the size of the teeth, crowding can occur.  
  2. Late Tooth Loss: Premature loss of baby teeth or the failure of permanent teeth to erupt at the appropriate time can disrupt the alignment, leading to crowding.  
  3. Dental Protrusion: Excessive front teeth protrusion can reduce the space for other teeth, causing crowding.  

Treatment Options for Crowding  

  • Tooth Extraction: 

In severe crowding, the orthodontist may recommend extracting one or more teeth to create sufficient space for the remaining teeth to align correctly.  

  • Braces: 

Traditional braces, consisting of brackets and wires, are highly effective in gradually shifting crowded teeth into their correct positions. The orthodontist will adjust regularly to guide the teeth into alignment.  

  • Clear Aligners:

 Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, offer a discreet and convenient alternative to braces. These custom-made, removable aligners gradually move the teeth into their desired positions.  

  • Expansion Appliances:

 A palatal expander can sometimes widen the upper jaw, creating more space for crowded teeth.  

It is crucial to consult with an experienced orthodontist who can evaluate your specific crowding concerns and recommend the most suitable treatment approach. Early intervention is often beneficial in addressing crowding and preventing potential complications.  


An overbite is a common orthodontic issue characterized by the upper front teeth overlapping excessively with the lower front teeth while closing the jaw. While a slight overbite is expected, a significant overbite can lead to various dental and facial problems that require attention and treatment.  

Types of Overbites  

There are two main types of overbites:  

  1. Vertical Overbite: This occurs when the upper front teeth significantly overlap the lower front teeth vertically, causing the upper teeth to cover a large portion of the lower teeth.  
  2. Horizontal Overbite: In a horizontal overbite, the upper front teeth protrude forward, extending horizontally beyond the lower front teeth. This can give the appearance of a "buck-toothed" or "bulldog" appearance.  

Treatment Options for Overbite  

Braces: Traditional braces are highly effective in gradually shifting the teeth into their proper positions and correcting the overbite. The orthodontist will adjust the braces periodically to achieve the desired alignment.  

  • Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, offer a discreet and removable alternative to braces for correcting mild to moderate overbites. These custom-made aligners apply gentle pressure to move the teeth into alignment. 

Common Orthodontic Problems and How to Fix Them
  • Functional Appliances:

 In cases where the overbite is caused by an imbalance in jaw growth or position, functional appliances like headgear or Herbst appliances may be recommended. These appliances help modify jaw growth and correct overbite.  

  • Orthognathic Surgery: 

In severe cases of skeletal overbite, orthognathic surgery may be necessary to reposition the jaws and achieve proper alignment. This option is typically considered when non-surgical treatments are insufficient.  


An underbite is an orthodontic condition where the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth while closing the jaws. In other words, the lower jaw is positioned further forward, or the upper jaw is set back, causing a misalignment of the teeth and a noticeable lower jaw prominence. 

Causes of Underbite 

Underbites can develop due to genetic and environmental factors. Some common causes include:  

  1. Jaw Growth Discrepancy: An underbite can occur when the lower jaw grows faster than the upper jaw. Conversely, a smaller upper jaw or inadequate growth can contribute to an underbite.  
  2. Thumb Sucking or Tongue Thrusting Habits: Prolonged thumb sucking or tongue thrusting can affect the growth and positioning of the jaws, potentially leading to an underbite.  
  3. Genetics: Certain genetic factors can predispose individuals to develop an underbite.  

Treatment Options for Underbite 

  • Braces: 

Traditional braces can correct mild to moderate underbites by gradually aligning the teeth. The orthodontist may also use additional appliances, such as rubber bands or springs, to guide the jaws into the correct position.  

  • Orthognathic Surgery: 

Orthognathic surgery may be necessary in cases of severe skeletal underbites. This surgical procedure involves repositioning the jaws to achieve proper alignment and balance between the upper and lower jaws.  

  • Functional Appliances: 

Functional appliances, such as headgear or reverse pull facemasks, may be used in growing individuals to guide jaw growth and correct an underbite.  


Crossbite is an orthodontic condition where the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth while closing the jaws. It involves a misalignment of the dental arches, causing the upper teeth to fall behind the lower teeth in certain areas. Crossbites can occur in the front and back teeth, affecting dental health and facial aesthetics.  

Types of Crossbite 

  1. Anterior Crossbite: This type of crossbite occurs when one or more upper front teeth sit behind the lower front teeth.  
  2. Posterior Crossbite: A posterior crossbite happens when the upper back teeth are positioned inside the lower back teeth on one or both sides of the mouth.  

Causes of Crossbite 

Crossbites can have both genetic and environmental causes. Some common factors include:  

  1. Jaw Size Discrepancy: A mismatch in the sizes of the upper and lower jaws can lead to a crossbite.  
  2. Premature Tooth Loss: A crossbite can develop if baby teeth are lost prematurely or adult teeth erupt in the wrong position.  
  3. Habits: Certain habits, such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or prolonged use of pacifiers or bottles, can contribute to developing a crossbite.  

Treatment Options for Crossbite 

  • Braces: 

Traditional braces are highly effective in correcting crossbites by gradually moving the teeth into their proper positions. The orthodontist may use specific techniques and adjustments to align the dental arches correctly.  

  • Expanders: 

Palatal expanders are often used to widen the upper jaw in cases of posterior crossbite. The expander helps create space and guide the upper teeth into proper alignment by applying gentle pressure.  

  • Clear Aligners:

 Clear aligner systems like Invisalign can correct mild to moderate crossbites. These custom-made aligners apply gentle pressure to move the teeth into proper alignment.  

  • Orthognathic Surgery:

 Orthognathic surgery may be necessary in severe cases of skeletal crossbite. This procedure involves repositioning the jaws to achieve proper alignment and balance.  

Open Bite 

If you have an open bite, it means that when you close your jaws, there is a noticeable gap or space between your upper and lower front teeth. This is a common orthodontic condition. The upper and lower teeth do not come into contact in an open bite, leaving an open space between them. This can affect both the front and back teeth and impact dental health, facial aesthetics, and overall well-being.  

Causes of Open Bite 

Open bites can develop due to genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Some common causes include:  

  1. Thumb Sucking or Tongue Thrusting Habits: Prolonged thumb sucking or tongue thrusting can exert pressure on the front teeth, preventing them from making proper contact with the opposing teeth and leading to an open bite.  
  2. Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders: Certain TMJ disorders can contribute to developing an open bite.  
  3. Skeletal Issues: Skeletal discrepancies, such as a disproportionate growth of the jaws, can result in an open bite.  
  4. Airway Issues: Some individuals with breathing problems, such as chronic mouth breathing or obstructive sleep apnea, may be more prone to developing an open bite.  

Treatment Options for Open Bite 

  • Braces or Clear Aligners: 

Traditional braces or clear aligners can gradually shift the teeth into their proper positions, closing the open bite.  

  • Behavior Modification Techniques: In cases where thumb sucking or tongue thrusting contribute to the open bite, behavior modification techniques and interventions may be implemented to help eliminate these habits.  
  • Orthognathic Surgery: 

Orthognathic surgery may be necessary to reposition the jaws and achieve proper alignment in severe cases involving skeletal issues.  

  • Myofunctional Therapy: 

This can help correct oral muscle imbalances and improve the function and positioning of the tongue and other oral structures.  

Misaligned Midline 

When the jaws are closed, a misaligned midline means that the centerline of the upper and lower teeth is not aligned correctly. In an ideal dental occlusion, the midline of the upper front teeth should align with the midline of the lower front teeth. However, a misaligned midline occurs when these midlines do not match up, resulting in an asymmetrical appearance. While a slight deviation is standard, a significant misalignment can cause aesthetic concerns and affect bite function.  

Treatment Options for Misaligned Midline  

  • Braces:

 Traditional braces effectively gradually shift the teeth into their proper positions, helping align the midline. Orthodontic adjustments can be made to address the misalignment.  

Common Orthodontic Problems and How to Fix Them
  • Clear Aligners: 

Clear aligner systems, such as Invisalign, offer a discreet and removable alternative to braces for correcting mild to moderate midline discrepancies.  

  • Dental Restorations: 

In cases where the misalignment is minimal, dental restorations, such as veneers or crowns, may be used to improve the appearance and alignment of the teeth, enhancing midline symmetry.  

  • Orthognathic Surgery:

 In severe cases involving significant skeletal discrepancies, orthognathic surgery may be recommended to reposition the jaws and align the midline properly.  

Spacing and Diastema 

Spacing and diastema refer to gaps or spaces between the teeth. These gaps can occur anywhere in the mouth but are most seen between the front teeth. While some individuals embrace these spaces as part of their natural smile, others may seek treatment to close the gaps for aesthetic reasons or to address functional concerns.  

Effects of Spacing and Diastema 

Spacing and diastema can affect dental health, smile aesthetics, and overall well-being. Some common effects include:  

  1. Dental Misalignment: Gaps between the teeth can lead to misalignment, causing adjacent teeth to shift or rotate.  
  2. Increased Risk of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: Food particles and plaque can accumulate in the gaps, making the affected areas more prone to tooth decay and gum disease.  
  3. Speech Impairments: In some cases, particularly with more significant gaps, speech clarity can be affected due to improper airflow and tongue positioning.  
  4. Self-Consciousness: Individuals with noticeable gaps may feel self-conscious about their smile, affecting their confidence and self-esteem.  

Treatment Options for Spacing and Diastema 

Several treatment options are available by orthodontists in Danville to address spacing and diastema, depending on the cause, size of the gaps, and individual factors. Some common treatment options include:  

  • Dental Bonding: 

Dental bonding involves applying tooth-colored resin to the teeth to close small gaps. It is a non-invasive and relatively quick procedure.  

  • Orthodontic Treatment:

 Braces or clear aligners can close gaps by gradually shifting the teeth into proper positions. This option is suitable for larger openings or cases involving misalignment.  

  • Veneers or Crowns:

 Dental veneers or crowns can be placed over the affected teeth to close gaps and improve the smile's appearance. This option is more suitable for cosmetic concerns.  

  • Implants or Bridges: 

In cases where missing teeth cause gaps, dental implants or bridges may be recommended to replace the missing teeth and close the spaces.  

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders 

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders affect the joints and muscles, facilitating jaw movement. The TMJ is located on each side of the head, connecting the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain, discomfort, and functional difficulties in the jaw joint and surrounding areas. These disorders can have various causes and may require a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment.  

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders 

The symptoms of TMJ disorders can vary but commonly include:  

  1. Jaw Pain or Discomfort: This may manifest as aching pain in the jaw joint, facial pain, or pain that radiates to the ears, temples, or neck.  
  2. Limited Jaw Movement: Difficulty or discomfort when opening or closing the mouth thoroughly, accompanied by jaw locking or clicking sounds.  
  3. Headaches: Recurrent headaches, including tension headaches or migraines, can be associated with TMJ disorders.  
  4. Ear Symptoms: TMJ disorders may cause ear-related symptoms such as earaches, ear ringing (tinnitus), or a feeling of fullness in the ears.  
  5. Muscle Tenderness: The muscles around the jaw joint may feel tender or fatigued.  

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders 

The treatment approach for TMJ disorders is typically tailored to the individual's specific symptoms and underlying causes. Some standard treatment options include:  

  • Self-Care and Lifestyle Modifications: 

This may involve practicing stress management techniques, avoiding hard or chewy foods, applying heat or ice packs to the affected area, and maintaining good posture.  

  • Medications:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, or other pain medications may be prescribed to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.  

  • Bite Guards or Oral Appliances: 

Customized bite guards or oral splints can help protect the teeth, reduce clenching or grinding, and relieve TMJ-related symptoms.  

  • Physical Therapy:

Specific exercises and techniques provided by a physical therapist can help improve jaw mobility, strengthen the muscles, and alleviate TMJ pain.  

  • Dental Treatments:

 In some cases, dental treatments, such as orthodontic adjustments or restorations, may be recommended to correct bite abnormalities or misalignments contributing to TMJ disorders.  

  • Injections: 

Corticosteroid or Botox injections into the jaw muscles can temporarily relieve TMJ-related pain and muscle tension.  

  • Surgery: 

Surgical intervention is typically reserved for severe cases of TMJ disorders that do not respond to conservative treatments. Procedures may involve joint repairs, disc repositioning, or joint replacements. 

Contact your Danville dentist, Dr. Hoss Abar, DDS, MSD, at Danville Orthodontics to learn more about common Orthodontic problems and how to fix them. 


Orthodontic Treatment for Adults: Pros and Cons 

*This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition.*

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