Common Orthodontic Problems

These are some of the most common orthodontic issues that can affect both children and adults.

Crowded Teeth

Crowding occurs when the jaw is too small for the teeth.

When this happens, your teeth move forward or backward in an attempt to find space.

 It’s a very common reason for braces.  Beyond just the aesthetics of crowded teeth and faster wear and tear, there are health conditions to consider as well. Because the surface of crowded teeth is harder to clean due to overlapping, the teeth and gums are more prone to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and bad breath.

Spaced Teeth

This condition often occurs when the jaw is too big for the teeth.

It is most likely caused by missing teeth or genetics, which will leave you with gaps in your smile.

This can cause food to become trapped between your teeth, within the space, and will lead to an accumulation of plaque.

Left untreated, the plaque will eventually lead to gingivitis ( inflammation and disease of the gums, then periodontal disease ( inflammation of the gums and bones surrounding the teeth)

Protruding Teeth

This is a common condition where the front upper teeth extend too far forward or outwards or the front lower teeth do not extend far enough forward. Many times, it’s only just a few teeth that are in the wrong position instead of the entire row of teeth. It can create an uncomfortable smile and bite.


An underbite is best described as a person’s lower jaw extending beyond the upper jaw.  So, when the mouth is closed, the person’s lower row of teeth are in front of their upper row of teeth. An underbite can cause jaw pain and excessive wear and tear. If left untreated, adults with underbites may require corrective jaw surgery to address the problem.

Excessive Overjet

An overjet refers to the horizontal relationship between the upper and lower front teeth. This condition – sometimes referred to as “buck teeth” – is characterized by upper incisors that protrude or stick out over the lower teeth.

Deep bite

An overbite is a malocclusion where a person’s upper front teeth cover too much of the lower back teeth when that person bites down.  This condition makes it easier for the front teeth to hit harder than the back teeth resulting in fractures and erosion of the enamel.

In some cases, the lower teeth can come in contact with the palate, irritating the gum tissue. If left untreated, an overbite may require extensive dental work later on, including corrective jaw surgery.


A crossbite occurs when a person’s top row of teeth fit inside their bottom row of teeth.  For example, your upper molars grow inside the lower molars and the upper incisors grow outside your lower incisors – causing difficulty when chewing and damage to the teeth.

In order for a person with a crossbite to close their mouth, they must shift their upper row of teeth to the side or forward. It’s a serious issue that leads to misaligned jaw growth and facial asymmetry.

Open Bite

This is a condition where all of your teeth fail to meet when you bite at the back of your mouth. It results in a gap between the front teeth when the back teeth are closed together. Childhood habits such as thumb sucking can easily cause an open bite.

Reverse Bite

This is the opposite of an open bite. Your lower teeth will sit in front of your upper teeth and it occurs when your lower jaw protrudes further out than it should.

Missing Teeth

Braces are used to move teeth into the correct position and alignment before a patient has their missing teeth replaced by bridges or implants.


Rotation of a tooth is when it tips forward or backward or turns out of its proper position, causing problems with the way the teeth fit together. This will eventually wear the teeth down and create additional dental problems.


Occasionally, a tooth will grow where another tooth should be, forcing the other tooth to erupt into the wrong space as well.  This will make it extremely difficult for the teeth to fit together properly. This condition can have a negative impact on the bite, and in turn, the jaw joints.

Contact Righellis Orthodontics Today

If you have any of the conditions described above, consider scheduling an appointment at our Oakland, CA practice. We can design a customized treatment plan to meet your orthodontic needs.

Call us at 510-482-0600 or contact us online.

Dr. Righellis & Dr. Ikeda
Meet Dr Righellis & Dr Ikeda
I don’t know how they do it – this is the best run medical office I have ever seen. Efficient, on time, exceptional service and everyone in the office is a pleasure.Claudia H.

Righellis & Associates

Orthodontics for Children and Adults

2220 Mountain Blvd.
Suite 204
Oakland, CA 94611

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday: On a limited basis – please call for availability