Common Problems


Visit Your Local Monroe & Snohomish, WA Orthodontist

Optimal oral health, and overall bodily health, can be achieved when there is a perfect balance between your jaw structure and the position of your teeth. Irregularities in tooth or jaw position can lead to many oral health problems, which, if left untreated, will create more severe orthodontic problems. These orthodontic problems, or irregularities, are called malocclusions, or bad bites. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to correct these “bad bites,” effectively preventing most speech difficulty, premature wearing down of tooth enamel and increases in the chances of jaw injury, gum disease and more. The following are some of the most common problems that our orthodontist, Dr. Ray Maxwell, treats at his Monroe, WA orthodontic office.

Understanding Underbite

An underbite is caused by an irregularity in the lower jaw. It occurs when the lower jaw extends out too far, causing the lower front teeth to set in front of the upper teeth.

Gaps & Over-Spacing Between Teeth

Many factors lead to gaps or spacing between teeth. Genetics, an accident or trauma that caused you to lose a tooth, or even gum disease that has weakened the root of a tooth and caused it to fall out are causes of extra space between teeth. Whatever the case, gaps and spacing can be both a cosmetic issue and a threat to oral health. Using orthodontics, along with proper cosmetic dental procedures, if necessary, to correct major gaps, especially ones caused from a missing tooth, is highly recommended.

Upper Front Tooth Protrusion

When you observe the upper front teeth extending out beyond the lower front teeth, you are typically seeing upper front tooth protrusion. The cause is one of two things: Either the upper jaw structure extends too far forward, or the lower jaw does not extend far enough. Speech problems, along with impaired chewing function and accidental biting of the roof of your mouth, can occur.


Crowding occurs when the adult teeth don’t have sufficient room to erupt from the gums. This problem is easily corrected by expansion treatment. The plus side to this problem is, if found and treated early on, tooth extractions can be avoided.


Crossbite refers to a condition where the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth. This leads to both tooth stratification and misaligned jaw growth.


Similar to protrusion, overbite occurs when the upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth. Overbite can immediately be identified as an upper jaw problem, however.


When the upper and lower front teeth don't overlap or intersect at all, it’s called an openbite. This condition is typically caused by bad childhood habits, like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. Chewing function is extremely impaired by this condition, making it very difficult to properly chew and digest food.


When a patient’s backbite doesn’t line up properly, midlines are usually to blame. Again, this problem can negatively impact chewing function and cause jaw pain.

Contact Your Local Monroe & Snohomish, WA Orthodontist Today

If you believe that you or a loved one may be suffering from any of these common orthodontic problems, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Each item discussed on this page is easily treatable with orthodontics. We can have your smile and your orthodontic health on the road to perfection in no time. We look forward to hearing from you!