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Crowding is when there isn’t enough space in the upper or lower jaw for all of the teeth to line up perfectly, so the teeth overlap and appear crooked. Crowding can make it more difficult to floss and brush properly.

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Spacing is when there are gaps present between the teeth and there appears to be more room than is needed, either due to smaller teeth, flared front teeth or larger jaws.

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A deep bite happens when the top teeth end up overlapping the bottom teeth, sometimes so much that you can’t see the bottom teeth at all. With a deep bite, you might notice some flattening or wearing down of the lower front teeth. In more extreme cases, the lower teeth actually touch the roof of the mouth and can cause trauma or irritation.

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An open bite is when the top and bottom front teeth don’t overlap when you bite down, so it looks like there is an opening or space between your top and bottom front teeth when you’re biting down.

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Some people refer to this as an “overbite” or increased overjet, but it just means that the top teeth are further forward compared to the bottom teeth.

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An underbite happens when the lower jaw is growing faster than the upper jaw, resulting the front teeth coming before the upper teeth.

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A crossbite is when the top teeth are on the inside of the bottom teeth. If it is in the back, it is called a posterior crossbite, and if it is in the front, it is called an anterior crossbite. Sometimes the crossbite involves one tooth, and sometimes several teeth are involved.

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An ectopic canine is a canine that is displaced from its normal position and is following an abnormal path of eruption. It is extremely important to diagnose this early in order to prevent damage to any other permanent teeth in the area.


Missing teeth has a genetic component, so sometimes missing lateral incisors (or other teeth) runs in families and isn’t a surprise when detected. You might notice that the top two front teeth are spaced out more because the two teeth next to them are missing or maybe a couple baby teeth are in place longer than normal because there isn’t a replacement. An X-ray will diagnose this condition, and there are several great options for treatment.

If you have questions about your teeth or bite, or are experiencing any of these common orthodontic issues, give our office a call at 804-256-2808, and Dr. Katie Doswell will be happy to answer any questions you have and walk you through your orthodontic treatment options at Doswell Orthodontics. Our orthodontic treatments in Richmond, Virginia, can help you achieve the smile of your dreams. All you need to do is schedule your visit with our orthodontist to get started.