Common Orthodontic Conditions

A healthy body starts with a healthy mouth, and River Street Smiles has simple strategies to help you manage (and potentially avoid) these common orthodontic concerns.


A disharmony between tooth-size and jaw-size can result in crowded, irregular teeth. Crowded teeth can be unattractive and more difficult to clean. They are prone to uneven wear. River Street Smiles’ orthodontic treatment usually involves the use of braces, which are the most efficient and accurate way of aligning teeth. Sometimes it is necessary to extract teeth to provide sufficient space to allow the teeth to align in a stable and harmonious position within the jaws and face.

Impacted teeth

An impacted tooth is one that doesn’t have enough space to push through the gum and into your mouth (known as ‘erupting’). Teeth may become impacted because of nearby teeth, dense overlying bone, excessive soft tissue, or a genetic irregularity. River Street Smiles’ orthodontic treatment involves creating space to allow the impacted tooth to erupt and in some cases, attaching to the impacted tooth and moving it into correct position.

Midlines do not line up

This is when the middle of the lower front teeth does not line up with the middle of the upper front teeth. This orthodontic concern is caused when the back bite does not fit and match properly, which may negatively impact jaw growth and correct dental function.


An open-bite exists when opposing teeth don’t meet. This can cause eating problems and excessive wear of those teeth, which do make contact. An open-bite can affect a person’s confidence and may be associated with speech difficulties. Open-bites may be a result of jaw patterns, or habits such as abnormal tongue behaviour or prolonged thumb sucking. Sucking the thumb (or fingers) can produce a localised deformation of the teeth and supporting bone. If the sucking habit has stopped within an appropriate time while your child is developing, natural improvement can occur.

Orthognathic surgery

Sometimes called corrective jaw surgery, orthognathic surgery is used to repair malocclusion or other orthodontic concerns. Often used in conjunction with braces, this surgery is typically used to help align upper and lower jaws in adults (when growth of bones has stopped.)


An overbite is a common orthodontic condition where the front teeth overlap the lower teeth excessively. Teeth wear more in the frontal area (opposite to open bite).

Pain in your jaw

Known as temporomandibular joint disorders, TMD or TMJ, this particular pain occurs with your jaw and the muscles in your face (which are in front of each ear). Factors that cause this include grinding or clenching your teeth, a heavy blow or whiplash, or arthritis in the joint.

Protruded teeth

Protruded teeth result when the position of the upper jaw is forward of the lower jaw. In severe cases, the lower lip may sit behind the upper front teeth and push them further forward to accentuate the disharmony. Protruded teeth can affect a person’s confidence and are prone to accidental damage. Often teeth become worn unevenly. Sometimes, the lower front teeth can over erupt and damage the gum behind the top front teeth.

Orthodontic treatment involves the aligning, levelling, and coordination of both arches with braces. In growing patients, the bite is corrected with headgear, elastics or functional appliances. In severe cases, especially if growth is complete, jaw surgery might be required to correct the jaw disharmony.

Spaced teeth

Spaces can result from a disharmony between tooth-size and jaw-size, or by irregular tongue thrusting activity. Spaces between the teeth can affect a person’s confidence and also interfere with speech. Orthodontic treatment usually involves the use of braces to align the teeth and to close the spaces.


When the lower jaw is forward in relation to the upper jaw, the lower front teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth and an ‘under-bite’ results. An under bite can affect a person’s confidence and can cause uneven wear of the front teeth and jaw joint problems. In mild cases, conventional orthodontic treatment with braces, elastics, and reverse-pull headgear can be used to correct the problem. In more severe cases, jaw surgery is required to correct the bite and create a more harmonious facial profile.