What is malocclusion?

I am 15 years old and I'm very worried about my protruding chin and lower teeth. Will braces help?

We recommended that you should see an orthodontist. In a small percentage of the population, the lower jaw may be longer than the upper jaw (this condition is more prevalent among Asians than Caucasians). This can cause the lower front teeth to protrude ahead of the upper front teeth and. In some cases the correction of a protruding chin may involve braces alone, whilst in more severe cases careful monitoring of jaw growth and tooth development is indicated and these patients will require jaw surgery, together with braces to achieve a good functional and esthetic appearance.

I can't bite with my front teeth. They don't seem to touch each other.

The type of bite you referred to is called an open bite, meaning that your upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting down. All the chewing pressure is then placed on the back teeth and this excessive biting pressure and rubbing of the back teeth may make chewing less efficient and contribute to significant tooth wear. Many people have this problem without noticing it, whereas others elect to correct their open bite, so as to save their back teeth from excessive wearing.

I have a large gap in between my front teeth. Will braces help?

Spacing can occur if teeth are missing/small, or if the dental arch is too wide. The most common complaint from those with excessive space is poor appearance. A big unsightly gap that you have is one of the commonest problems that can be dealt with using braces. Many people elect to close the gap with braces rather than filing down their natural teeth to place bigger size caps (Crowns).

I notice that my son's teeth are sticking out. Will he get worse as he grows older?

You should be careful! Front teeth that stick out (large overjet) can worsen as your son grows older. Protruding teeth are more prone to injury and can lead to poor appearance. Protruded upper teeth are commonly associated with a lower jaw that is too short or an upper jaw that is too long. Thumb sucking habits can also cause upper front teeth to stick out.

My 5 year old daughter still uses a pacifier. Will this affect her teeth?

Using a pacifier has long been blamed as a cause of bad bite. Depending on your daughter's reliance in the pacifier, it may cause varying degrees of interference on the bad bite development. The longer the duration and the longer your daughter spends with the pacifier, the more likely the risk of a bad bite developing. In general, parents are advised to discourage this habit as early as possible.

My daughter had really straight teeth as a child. Now her adult teeth are coming through, they seem to be crooked. What's wrong?

Your daughter is developing one of the most commonly encountered bad bites called crowding. Teeth maybe poorly aligned because the dental arch is small and/or the teeth are large. The bone and the gums over the roots of extremely crowded teeth may become thin and recede as a result of crowding. Impacted teeth, poor bite and undesirable appearance may all result from crowding.

My husband and I have had braces; will that mean my daughter will need braces too?

Your daughter inherited your genetics and we know that the development of our face and our teeth are closely related to genetic control. If both of you had braces, it is likely that your daughter may need braces too. Having said that, not all bad bites are inherited. Some oral habits (thumb and finger sucking, lip habit, mouth-breathing), neglected dental care (early loss of milk teeth because of decay), trauma (loss of upper adult teeth) are among other reasons that can cause a bad bite to develop.

My Orthodontist told me that I have a deep bite, what is it?

A deep bite occurs when the lower incisors bite too close or into the gum tissue behind the upper front teeth. This can lead to significant discomfort and contribute to excessive wear of the incisor teeth and/or gums. Your orthodontists can treat this problem effectively -especially in growing children, where continual growth can be used to advantage.

People say I show a lot of gum when I smile. What can I do?

You are having a gummy smile. This may be an indication that your upper lip length and your gum length may not be in proportion. We recommend that you should consult an orthodontist for an opinion.