5 Common Orthodontic Issues

Here at Dillehay Orthodontics, we generally like to talk about all the things we can fix rather than focusing on the things that need fixing in the first place! But understanding what kind of dental issues would benefit from orthodontic treatment is important information to have. If you find that you or your child are experiencing any of these problems, knowing what can happen if they’re left untreated can help you to develop an effective treatment plan with your orthodontist that will improve your oral health.

We believe that an informed patient is an empowered patient, so we’ve put together a list of 5 Common Orthodontic Issues to explore what they entail and what we can to do to correct them!


Simply put, crowding means there isn’t enough space for all of the teeth to fit normally in the mouth. It can result from the improper eruption of teeth, including issues with which teeth erupt and where they erupt first. Without enough room to grow properly, teeth can end up displaced, crooked, or twisted, and there will be discord between the teeth and the jaws.

Crowding might not seem like a big deal, but it’s important to address this issue for multiple reasons, including

  • preventing tooth decay
  • ensuring all surfaces of the teeth can be cleaned properly
  • reducing your risk of developing gum disease
  • proper functioning of the teeth and jaws
  • improving cosmetic appearance

Additionally, untreated crowded teeth can lead to chipping, uneven wear, bone loss, or overlapping teeth that worsens with time.

2. Spacing

Spacing is, obviously, the exact opposite of crowding. This issue involves excess space for the teeth, resulting in gaps. It often occurs when the teeth are smaller than the space available for them, but prematurely missing teeth, teeth that never develop, and other abnormal tissue attachments can also cause spacing issues. This kind of spacing may lead to problems such as

  • insecurity about the appearance of your smile
  • interference with the proper functioning of your teeth
  • a lack of tooth protection leading to gum issues
  • the potential for premature posterior wear

3. Deep Bite

A deep bite may occur when the teeth fail to line up properly, or if you have a small lower jaw. With a deep bite, the upper teeth overlap with the lower teeth. This means your lower incisors will make contact with the gum tissue found in the upper arch of the jaw. A deep bite can lead to a variety of issues, including

  • improper functioning of the anterior teeth
  • occlusal trauma, or the type of dental damage incurred when teeth are left in less than optimal positions without proper treatment
  • abnormal chipping or wearing of the lower anterior teeth
  • lower front teeth that can over-erupt

Additionally, a deep bite can cause or exacerbate TMJ issues. This may result in tension of the chewing muscles, jaw joint pain, neck pain, or headaches.

4. Underbite

An underbite is a dental condition where the lower jaw protrudes up and outward abnormally, partially overlapping with the upper teeth. It can be caused by genetics, abnormalities in the jaw bone, poor chewing habits, or extended thumb-sucking.

Unlike some of the other issues mentioned here, early treatment is paramount with underbites in order to avoid lasting damage. Some of the difficulties that can result from an untreated underbite are

  • TMJ-related pain
  • increased wear and tear on enamel
  • increased chance of tooth decay
  • increased chance of developing gum disease
  • interference with speech
  • a change in the structure and appearance of the face, mouth, and smile
  • difficulties with chewing and swallowing

5. Crossbite

Crossbites are usually anterior or posterior. A posterior crossbite occurs when your upper teeth fall inside your lower teeth on one side when you bite down. An anterior crossbite, which is actually similar to an underbite, occurs when your top front teeth fall behind your lower front teeth when you bite down. Crossbites can be caused by genetics, mismatched jaw sizes, or the delayed loss of baby teeth.

Because of the way the teeth sit with a crossbite, the most obvious difficulties are issues with biting and chewing, but other symptoms can include

  • TMJ issues, such as jaw pain, jaw locking, limited movement, and jaw clicking
  • loose teeth
  • receding gums
  • increased sensitivity
  • excessive wear of tooth enamel
  • asymmetrical growth of the face and jaw

Improving dental health in Wichita with Dillehay Orthodontics

As important as it is to be able to recognize the kind of common dental problems we’ve outlined above, it’s equally important to work with an experienced and qualified orthodontist to correct them.

At Dillehay Orthodontics, we have the best of both worlds: two orthodontists who are able to mix years of experience with enthusiasm and a passion for the most current orthodontic techniques and technologies. Our treatment options range from traditional metal braces to surgical orthodontics, and everything in between. We’ve got a talented team who are dedicated to working with every patient in creating a comfortable environment for a stress-free experience every time you walk through our doors!

With conveniently located offices in East and West Wichita and Derby, as well as satellite offices in Arkansas City and Pratt, you can be sure that when you visit Dillehay Orthodontics, your care is in the hands of highly-trained orthodontists who are supported by staff members with respect and experience in their field. If you’re in Wichita or the surrounding area, and you or your child are dealing with any of these common dental problems, call us or click here to schedule your initial consultation with one of our orthodontists. Remember that although most orthodontic treatments are easier for children and teens, adult patients are seeking treatment increasingly often, and there’s never a bad time to fix your bad bite. If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the treatment for you, so get in touch with us today!