Bites, Braces, and More: Types of Malocclusion

Bites, Braces, and More: Types of Malocclusion

Just like people suffer from issues with crooked teeth, many Americans also suffer from the ill side effects associated with misaligned bites. It might not seem like an issue at first, but misaligned bites, known as malocclusion, can result in a variety of health problems without the proper treatment.


There are three primary types of malocclusion: overbites, underbites, and crossbites. These three conditions each come with their share of problems that can hinder someone’s quality of life. Luckily, the proper dental care from your local Lake Ridge VA dentists can help diagnose and treat these issues.


Here’s what you should know about these forms of malocclusion.




An overbite, also called a deep bite by some dentists, occurs when the upper jaw is pushed forward, extending the top teeth over the lower teeth. Overbites happen when the upper jaw or front teeth overdevelop in comparison to the bottom jaw. It can also occur when the lower jaw is underdeveloped.


This health issue is easily determined by a dentist through an X-Ray or simple oral exam. Typically, the lower incisors are completely covered by the protruding upper jaw. There is also little to no contact between the upper and lower teeth since the upper jaw protrudes considerably. This gives the effect of a gummy smile with fewer visible teeth since they’re hidden under the upper jaw.


This can lead to a host of health issues, including premature wear and hindered functioning of the front teeth. This can cause issues with sensitivity, appearance, and oral health.




Underbites are the antithesis to overbites. This oral health issue is less common than overbites, but it still occurs in around 8% of people who suffer from malocclusion issues. This health issue occurs when the lower jaw protrudes further than the upper jaw, causing the lower teeth to rest atop the upper teeth.


Similarly to overbites, this can also cause premature wear of your front teeth and contribute to periodontal disease. However, these bites can also cause a number of other issues, including snoring, degrading self-confidence, sleep apnea, and TMJ.




Crossbites are often the result of uncorrected overbites and underbites. In order to make up for teeth misalignment, a person will move their jaw to favor one side of their mouth. This extra effort enables the patient to close their mouth properly, but it can cause headaches, symptoms of TMJ, and discomfort while eating.


Other forms of bite problems

These three bite issues are among the most commonly experienced forms of malocclusion, but there are other types of bites that can negatively impact someone’s smile. Luckily, proper dental care can help patients achieve a healthy, comfortable smile. If you’re experiencing one of the following bite issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to your trusted dentist in Lake Ridge VA.


  • Crowding: Crowded teeth happens when there are too many teeth in a small jaw. This is common among people who experience issues with jaw development. Teeth may need to be removed to make room when crowding occurs.


  • Spacing: Spacing is the opposite of crowding. This issue often begins when the jaw is too big and the teeth aren’t large enough to cover the space. People who have lost teeth in the past may also experience issues with spacing as the teeth shift to make up space.


  • Open bites: Open bites are rarer than some of the other health issues mentioned, but this is one of the most devastating bites of all. Severe misalignment of the jaw will create spaces between the upper and lower teeth, preventing any form of alignment. This leads to chewing issues and jaw pain, necessitating immediate dental care from a trusted dentist.


These health issues can be corrected by utilizing a variety of dental procedures. While more severe issues regarding misalignment are corrected through braces, smaller issues may necessitate a simple tooth extraction or Invisalign retainer. The latter option is a great choice for adults who want to avoid the look of braces, however, misalignment issues should not be taken lightly. If your dentist suggests surgery or braces, you should take their recommendation seriously.


When more than 74% of adults believe an unattractive smile could hurt their careers, correcting this type of oral health condition is essential. Luckily, a dentist can help adjust your bite misalignments with the right tools. When you’re looking for a braces or Invisalign provider, rely on the quality dental professionals at Lake Ridge Dental today.

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