Overbites, underbites, crowding – oh my!

Posted on May 14, 2021 | First Time

Overbites, underbites, crowding – oh my!

Some more common mislalignment terms we toss around are “overbites” and “underbites,” but did you know there are actually seven fairly common bite issues in children? All of us have “bites,” but when there’s a misalignment, the technical term is called a “malocclusion.”

The issues with a malocclusion in children aren’t limited to just crooked teeth or a jaw misalignment. As kids grow up, the integrity of the teeth under stress can wear down. The jaw can develop several issues, but pain is the most prominent. 

Malocclusion is not an issue that solves itself as your child grows up. Long-term issues from these types of bites can cause your child discomfort and even pain if left unaddressed. 

The underbite

This is when the lower jaw is more prominent than the upper jaw. This issue can cause the “bull dog” look. If left untreated, the teeth will eventually wear, and there will be continued stress on the jaw. 

The crossbite

This is when the upper teeth fit inside the bottom teeth. Sometimes it’s only one tooth, other times it can be several upper teeth! If a crossbite isn’t treated, the jaw can shift to one side and eventually grow lopsided. It can also wear down tooth enamel. 

The open bite

An open bite happens with the back teeth meet up, but the front teeth aren’t able to touch. If this issue isn’t corrected, swallowing issues and speech issues can occur. 

The deep bite

You can identify a deep bite when the mouth is closed. It’s then that you notice the upper teeth cover too much of the bottom teeth. If this is gone untreated, the upper teeth might actually start cutting into the gums. This could eventually lead to gum disease. 


This is just what it sounds like: the mouth doesn’t have enough room for the teeth. There are a few ways teeth can end up crowded, and even overlapped. The teeth can just be big, or there’s not an adequate amount of space in the jaw or a combination of both. When the teeth are crowded, it can be difficult to sufficiently brush and floss them. 


This is just the opposite of crowding. Spacing is too much space between teeth. This can happen if the teeth are small, if the jaw is oversized, or if some teeth are missing. The issue here can be that food can end up getting stuck between the teeth and causing cavities. 


Protrusion is when the teeth in the front of the mouth stick out. This is often referred to as “buck teeth.” This is because the upper jaw sets forward more than the bottom. With protrusions, some people also have deep bites.

If this is left untreated, teeth can break, there can be discomfort, and if the mouth can’t comfortably close, then your child can suffer from dry mouth. Protrusive teeth are also at higher risk for fracture if a person sustains any trauma to the face!

If you can already tell that there are underlying misalignment issues, then it’s worth a trip to your orthodontist. The goal of treatment will be to create a healthy bite and prolong the health of your kiddo’s gums, teeth, and overall mouth.

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