Malocclusion and Other Common Orthodontic Problems

Common orthodontic problems and malocclusions are why people might need braces.

What is Orthodontic treatment? In general, the public will literally state, “It makes crooked teeth straight.” And this is correct. Furthermore, according to the American Association of Orthodontists – AAO it is a “specialty of dentistry that diagnosticates, cares for, and corrects the inadequate positioning of teeth at the bite.”

Clearly, there is a general awareness of orthodontics. But there are many things we can say about orthodontic treatment. All these things can help satisfy further and specific questions about the causes, types, and classes of misaligned teeth. But most importantly, why orthodontics matters to improve patients’ quality of life.

In a few words, oral health is the starting point of having excellent overall health. Correct teeth functioning at biting and chewing improves patients’ digestion and reduces teeth wear off and potential tooth loss. In addition, a proper alignment of teeth minimizes the occurrence of tooth decay and gum disease.

A more profound approach to orthodontic treatment helps us identify commonly unnoticed benefits. In specific cases, orthodontic treatment helps solve speech problems, sleep apnea, and craniofacial asymmetries, improves self-confidence, enhances social relationships, and saves vast amounts of money from inadvertent corrective treatments.

With this brief introduction, let’s revise what is and the extent of malocclusion, which is the clinical term for crooked teeth.

What Is Malocclusion?

Occlusion refers to the way the maxilla and mandible, which are the upper and lower jaws fit together at the bite. Furthermore, mal is a prefix that means wrong. Therefore, malocclusion is an incorrect occlusion or, in more simple terms, a bad bite due to teeth misalignments or a jaw misplacement.

More specifically, having a good occlusion is when the upper is teeth slightly forward than the lower teeth, and the upper molar’s pointy edges match the lower crevices of the lower molars. The most noticeable aspect of a perfectly matching occlusion is that teeth won’t produce unnecessary friction.

An incorrect fitting produces a faulty distribution of force to zones of the teeth in the counter jaw. Zoned excessive force might produce chips that can eventually grow to a crack. Depending on the zone of the crack, it might open wider across the tooth, breaking it and requiring expensive corrective treatment.

Other than the incorrect distribution of force at the bite is the challenge that misaligned teeth pose in removing dental plaque. Crooked teeth produce uneven and entrenched spaces where bristles can’t reach, and the flossing thread doesn’t enter properly. As plaque accumulates, so does the possibility of tooth decay and gum disease.    

What Causes Malocclusion?

Incidentally, we revised some of the main causes of malocclusion. However, identifying the cause of malocclusion is essential for an orthodontist to design an orthodontic plan that includes the best alternative. You might as well consider the following self-explanatory reasons that will guide you to understand which category falls under your condition:

Hereditary factors

Parents and grandparents might have a malocclusion that often passes to their kids, which could help them discuss with a dentist to work an early solution with first-phase interceptive treatment.

At times families share an overbite or underbite that is perceived by their face profile, jaw, an odd relationship of the upper and lower jaws, and also teeth might have a smaller size causing problems like teeth spacing.

Child Habits

Some child habits like thumb-sucking are a natural reflex to provide self-comfort. However, there are triggering factors like child stress that could exacerbate the habit making it nocive due to its recurrence.

Moreover, pediatric dentists and orthodontists recommend parents detect when it occurs with more frequency and tie it to a triggering factor. Parents must work with Dr. Egger to stop the habit before the third year of age to avoid the development of a crossbite or overbite malocclusion.

Some other habits Include pacifier and bottle sucking, which have similar effects as thumb-sucking and tongue thrusting that consist of pushing the tongue against the mouths of and the front teeth, which could cause buckteeth or an open bite malocclusion.

Teeth Growth Anomalies

Some teeth anomalies include having extra or impacted teeth causing overcrowding. Also, patients might have lost a tooth or have abnormally shaped teeth, like small teeth that produce teeth spacing.

Previous Dental Procedures

Dental fillings or crowns that aren’t tightly fit.


Injuries might cause teeth to fall or the jaws to break.

Chronic Illnesses

For instance, tumors might also cause orthodontic malocclusion.

What Are the Classes of Malocclusion?

Now that we have revised the causes of malocclusion, it is also helpful to have a clearer idea of malocclusion cases. The classification advances according to the level of incidence, being the first the most common occurrence. Here we list the clinical classification of malocclusion that will help parents and patients distinguish how they differ from one another.

Class One – Less Severe

In general, the bite is normal, but the upper teeth slightly overlap the lower teeth.

Class Two – Retrognathism

A Class two malocclusion refers to a condition in which the upper jaw significantly overlaps the lower jaw, which might also create a facial profile asymmetry.

Class Three – Prognathism

In this category, the lower jaw overlaps the upper jaw causing a protrusion that also produces a jaw and profile asymmetry.

What Are the Types of Malocclusion?

You might now feel a little confused. How is it that there are classes and types of malocclusion? The answer is quite simple; some types fall under one of the three categories pinpointed above. With this brief explanation, let’s check the typologies according to their classes and other malocclusion types:

Class Two – Overbite

A slight overlap of the upper teeth is normal, but an overlap that covers the lower teeth or even makes the upper teeth touch the lower gums or the lower teeth touch the roof of the mouth is an overbite.

Class Three – Underbite

An underbite is also known as an anterior crossbite, where the lower front teeth jut far forward the upper front teeth.

Other Malocclusion Types


Upper teeth on one or both sides bite inside the lower teeth, either in the front or rear teeth.


There is a lack of space in any of the jaws producing crooked teeth.

Open Bite

The front teeth don’t touch or overlap the lower teeth.


The front teeth protrude forward at a horizontal angle, which prevents the upper teeth from touching the front lower teeth at the bite.


It occurs between two adjacent teeth and is also referred to as gap teeth. The most recurrent case is the upper front teeth having a small space between them.

Impacted Teeth

This malocclusion occurs when a tooth or teeth don’t erupt above the gums or do it partially.

From Class One to Class Three and Beyond

At Egger Orthodontics, Dr. Nadine Egger and her team will ensure our patients clearly understand their malocclusion class, type, and also its severity seeing comparable cases with their own.

Dr. Nadine Egger welcomes you and your family to your Issaquah Braces Treatment Orthodontics to start correcting malocclusion with Traditional Braces Issaquah or Invisalign to have a dream smile that will help you get the confidence you deserve. Schedule an appointment or call our kind staff, that will be glad to serve the Issaquah community.