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Please read this letter prior to your appointment with Dr. Dougherty.

Notice of Privacy Practices

Common Bite Problems


 Child smiling and pointing to teethA bad bite is known as a malocclusion, and it refers to the improper positioning of your teeth for a balanced bite. Though many of our patients express concern of the look of a bad bite, it can also cause dental problems. Bad bites can cause problems in your jaw and its hinge mechanism, it can affect your food choices and a bad bite can be exacerbated by causing neighboring teeth to also be forced into improper position. Our team at Dougherty Orthodontics can help review your bite and then make recommendations if we think an orthodontic device is needed. Orthodontic devices, both styles and how long they are needed, vary greatly, and each treatment plan is customized to fit each patient.

Your bite is how your upper and lower teeth fit together in a closed position. Ideally, your upper teeth will fit slightly over your lower teeth with molars fitting into the grooves of the opposite molars. This is what is known as a healthy bite. Unfortunately, many patients do not have a healthy bite for a variety of reasons, and understanding more about your bite can help.

Children and Orthodontics


Today it is recommended that we see our patients for the first time around the age of seven. This may sound surprisingly young, but there are steps we can take for children to help guide their adult teeth into a better position, saving considerable time and expense in the future. With the help of spacers and retainers, we can help redirect the positioning of those early teeth improving your child’s bite later.

Most Common Bite Problems


The top seven most common bite problems include:

•  Overbite: Sometimes referred to as a deep bite, an overbite is when the front teeth extend abnormally further forward over the bottom teeth than they should. A healthy bite is front teeth settling over the bottom teeth, but there shouldn’t be too much of a gap between where the front teeth overlap the bottom teeth. Deep overbites are often caused by the size or shape of the teeth. If left untreated, a deep overbite can cause jaw issues and more.
•  Underbite: An underbite is when the lower teeth extend over the front teeth. It can also be referred to as a Class III malocclusion or prognathism. An underbite can cause a facial shape abnormality, along with a list of dental problems including TMJ dysfunction.
•  Crossbite: A crossbite is when one or more teeth is not aligned correctly, for instance, an upper tooth may rest behind a bottom tooth when the mouth is closed. This problem can affect the positioning of other teeth or even cause the jaw to develop lopsided.
•  Open Bite:An open bite is when there is space between the upper and lower teeth when the patient has a closed mouth. An open bite can occur from excessive thumb sucking, mouth breathing, or tongue thrusting. A variation of this form of bite is known as a posterior open bite, this means that the front teeth meet but the back teeth do not. If an open bite is not corrected, the patient can experience swallowing issues and speech issues.
•  Crowding: Teeth being overcrowded is a common problem. This means that there is insufficient space for the teeth and as a result they push and shove each other out of position to be in place, or can even be impacted and not come into position at all. Overcrowding can result in a number of dental issues including problems with decay because bacteria gets stuck in overlapping teeth.
•  Gaps and Spaces: The opposite of overcrowding, some patients may have gaps and open spaces between their teeth. This may not seem problematic, but it leaves room for teeth to roam in an uncontrolled fashion.
•  Protruding: Protruding teeth often refers to the four upper center teeth being pushed forward in a protruding fashion. This is often an overbite, or deep bite. Patients can experience issues in their speech and jaw from a protruding bite.

Our goal is that with orthodontic treatment, we can help you achieve a healthy bite. Having a healthy bite means that the force you create when biting or chewing is evenly distributed, it also means that you will have clear speech and a healthy jaw. We can help you achieve these goals.
Dougherty Orthodontics

Monday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm


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