On this page, our orthodontist has provided the answers to some of the most common orthodontic questions in Sunbury, Ohio, and the surrounding areas. You may have a question that we have not covered here, and you can call Renick Orthodontics at 740-936-5003 for more information and to schedule your visit with Dr. Michele Renick.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the grinding of the teeth. This is generally a nighttime habit and a subconscious expression of stress. The teeth gnash together in “parafunction” or an abnormal sideways motion. In the mouth, the teeth will show wear patterns or wear facets, flattened surfaces from the motion of the teeth. Bruxism can cause traumatic occlusion (see above) and cause gum issues as well as tooth issues.

What is a Crossbite?

In a normal mouth, all of the upper teeth are slightly larger than their lower counterparts. This makes the upper arch of teeth slightly larger than the lower arch of teeth. For this reason, all of the upper teeth sit slightly outside of the lower teeth and this is how the teeth function. Sometimes, growth problems or dental problems cause arch length problems. Missing teeth, small or peg teeth, or an underdeveloped or constricted jaw can all be the cause of this kind of problem. An anterior crossbite is sometimes called an underbite. Posterior crossbites can be caused by jaw constriction either from genetics or a finger sucking habit.

What is Crowding?

Crowding is a common problem where the arches aren’t big enough to hold all of the teeth. In order to create room for teeth, we can try to develop the jaw of a growing child, flare the anterior teeth, selectively extract a tooth or slenderize the existing teeth (IPR – interproximal reduction).

What is an Open Bite?

This is the reverse of an overbite. In this case, there is a vertical space between the top and the bottom teeth. This creates a functional problem with the front teeth. Teeth function when they come together. If they don’t come together, they can’t function. The front teeth are called incisors. To incise means to bite in to. Open bites make eating certain foods difficult to eat or bite into, such as apples, corn on the cob or lettuce. Open bites can be a product of a tongue thrust or a finger sucking habit.

What is an Overbite?

Unlike overjet, overbite is a vertical problem. In this case, the top teeth cover too much of the bottom teeth. This can lead to flaring of the top teeth, trauma and wear to the bottom teeth, and tissue trauma to the roof of the mouth.

What is “Overjet”?

Picture a “jet” plane taking off on a runway. Overjet is a horizontal front to back problem. The top teeth are too far in front of the bottom teeth. This is found in what we call a class II malocclusion. It can be a result of a thumb or finger sucking habit or it can result from lack of growth of the lower jaw.

What is Spacing?

Spacing can be caused by abnormal flaring of the teeth, tooth size problems (peg laterals or missing teeth) or frena. A diastema is a fancy word for a space between the two front teeth. This is sometime caused by a piece of tissue called a frenum extending between the teeth where it doesn’t belong. Spacing can also be caused by a bad bite which is causing the teeth to hit traumatically.

What is Traumatic Occlusion?

Traumatic Occlusion occurs when the teeth hit abnormally. A patient can chip or wear teeth when this occurs. This can even cause problems in the gum tissue. Crossbites are examples of traumatic occlusions. Occlusion means bite.

What is an “Underbite”?

An underbite is also known as a reverse overjet. Still a horizontal front to back problem, the bottom teeth are too far ahead of the top teeth. This is found in what we call a class III malocclusion. In a class III, either the lower teeth or the lower jaw is ahead of the upper teeth or jaw.