Your Orthodontic Problems Explained

The team at Righellis Orthodontics sees a variety of orthodontic problems every day. Many of these problems (known as malocclusions) can lead to the following orthodontic issues:

  • Tooth damage
  • Jaw injury
  • Speech difficulty
  • Premature wear
  • Airway and breathing problems
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Inability to clean your teeth properly

All of these can eventually lead to significant health problems. Thankfully, Dr. Righellis and his highly trained team can correct these issues with orthodontic treatment. Our goal is to not only improve your smile but to improve your oral health and function too.

Common Orthodontic Problems

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

Crowded Teeth

Crowding occurs when you do not have sufficient space in your jaw for your teeth to protrude from your gums. When this is the case, 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 occurs when there is too much available gum space between teeth in your jaw. 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 turn to gingivitis then periodontal disease.


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.

It can also lead to excessive wear and tear on a person’s incisors and sometimes the lower teeth can hit the palate, destroying gum tissue. If left untreated, can result in extensive dental work later from spacing, fractures, loss of teeth, and possibly jaw surgery.


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 will cause jaw pain and excessive wear and tear. It can lead to jaw surgery if left untreated as an adult.

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.

Cross Bite

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 aligned together. A child with a lengthy thumb sucking habit can easily cause an openbite.

Reverse Bite

This is the opposite of an openbite. 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 will have a negative impact on the way the teeth fit together.

Treatment Methods

Treatment methods will vary based on the severity of your condition however the main form of treatment will most likely be braces. Dr. Righellis will create an individualized plan of treatment based on your specific needs.

Contact Righellis Orthodontics Today

Are you experiencing any of the issues discussed above? To learn more about your orthodontic treatment options, schedule a visit at our Oakland, CA practice. Contact us online or call our office at 510-482-0060.

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