Common Problems

Orthodontic Checklist

The following list is designed to identify orthodontic problems. If during your routine dental exam, you observe any of these problems, your patient would benefit from an orthodontic evaluation.

1. Do the upper teeth protrude?

Excessive protrusion of the upper front teeth – “buck teeth”– is by far the most common orthodontic problem.

Upper Teeth Protrude

2. Is there a deep bite?

The upper front teeth cover the lower front teeth too much.

Deep Bite

3. Is there an underbite?

The upper teeth fit inside the arch of the lower teeth.


4. Is there an open bite?

The child can stick his or her tongue between the upper and lower front teeth when the back teeth are together.

Open Bite

5. Is there too little or too much room for the teeth?

Crowded or overlapped teeth...

Overlapped Teeth

...or noticeably large gaps between teeth.

Large Gaps

6. Do the front teeth line up?

The spaces between the two upper front teeth and the two lower front teeth should line up with each other and both should line up with the bridge of the nose. When they do not, the probable cause is drifted teeth or a shifted lower jaw, resulting in an improper bite.

Front Teeth Lineup

7. Is there a crossbite?

The upper back teeth fit inside, rather than outside of the lowers.

Cross Bite

Seek treatment earlier than age seven if child has:

* difficulty chewing.

* open-mouth breathing.

* thumb or finger sucking.

* overlapping or crowding of erupting permanent teeth.

* jaws that click or pop.

* biting of the cheek or into the roof of the mouth.

* speech problems.

* grinding or wearing down of teeth.

* obvious abnormal bite development of any kind.

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends
the ideal age for an initial orthodontic exam is 7 years old.

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