Key terms

Common orthodontic abnormalities that may trigger local dentists and/or dental therapists to refer you to Orthotek include:  


If the upper jaw is too narrow, the lower jaw can swing to one side to allow the teeth to mesh. However, it is possible for a crossbite to occur without the jaw swinging. The upper teeth should fit outside the lower teeth like a lid on a box and when this is reversed it is called an x-bite. If an anterior crossbite is not addressed receding gums can develop on the lower teeth as the bigger, stronger top teeth can push the lower teeth forward.

Crowding of teeth

Crowding is a common orthodontic problem. Crowded teeth can be difficult to clean and can create problems with chewing and biting.

Buck teeth

Buck teeth relate to the upper teeth projecting out over the lower lip.


Fangs are officially referred to as a cuspid, a tooth with a single cusp or point such as a canine tooth. Cuspids can take on a sharp or jagged appearance due to lack of space or crowding.

Protruding teeth

Protruding teeth are caused by upper or lower teeth projecting out of a person’s mouth. Correction of protruding teeth is best completed at a young age to prevent speech problems and the formation of more complex orthodontic issues.

Deep bite

A deep bite is basically an exaggerated overbite in which the upper protrude farther than the lower teeth. This can cause damage to teeth through excessive wear and tear, and have quite severe effects on the inside gum.


An overjet and an overbite are often confused, but are actually two quite different things. An overjet relates to how far forward the teeth are, while a deep overbite relates to the overlapping of top and bottom teeth. An overjet can be particularly unsightly as the lips may not meet. There is an increased risk of injury to the front teeth with an overjet, particularly if the patient plays contact sport. An overbite increases wear and tear of the front teeth and can cause damage to gum tissue. It is possible to have both and overjet and an overbite.


An underbite occurs when a person’s lower jaw protrudes or extends forward and in the front of the upper jaw, making the chin and lower teeth prominent.


An open bite exists when some teeth don't meet. It is very common in children who suck their thumbs or fingers. An open-bite can cause eating problems, speech problems, and excessive wear of teeth that do meet.

Impacted teeth

Impacted teeth increase the chance of delayed eruption. Delayed eruption occurs when teeth don't come through at the normal time. Ectopic teeth are teeth that erupt in the wrong place. This can lead to impacted canines, molars, premolars and ectopic molars.

Thumb and finger-sucking habits

Parents are sometimes anxious about their child’s sucking habit and will seek advice from their health professional. Thumb and finger-sucking is a natural reflex for a baby that may begin whilst in-utero, and parents should be assured that a sucking habit is considered to be a normal feature of a young child’s development. It is, however, well documented that if the habit continues past the age of five to six years into the mixed and permanent dentition, there is the potential undesirable tooth movement and malocclusions may develop. Find out more here.

Missing teeth

Missing teeth is a common orthodontic issue, particularly where children have experienced poor oral hygiene and adult teeth have had to be extracted. Missing teeth creates problems with teeth placement and settlement.

Orthognathic surgery

Orthognathic surgery is a corrective jaw surgery that straightens and realigns the jaw to correct skeletal deformities that can result in severe orthodontic conditions.

Deciduous or primary teeth

Deciduous or primary teeth, commonly known as baby teeth, temporary teeth and milk teeth, are a person’s first set of teeth. They are developed during the embryonic stage of development and erupt during infancy.

Retained teeth

Deciduous or primary teeth may be retained for a variety of reasons but the most common is the absence of a permanent tooth. A retained or persistent deciduous baby tooth can also still be present despite the eruption of a permanent tooth, and will require extraction.

Rotated teeth

Rotated teeth refer to a condition where the teeth are not aligned properly in relation to the adjacent and opposing teeth, i.e. the tooth has turned and is displaced out of its normal position. This condition commonly causes tooth decay.


A diastema is a space or gap between two teeth.

Retroclined teeth

Retroclined teeth refer to the condition of teeth being inclined backward.

Proclined teeth

Proclined teeth refer to the condition of teeth being inclined forward.

Please remember that you don’t need a referral from a dentist or dental therapist if you are concerned about your teeth and wish to see a specialist orthodontist.

Contact Orthotek on 07 853 2300 to make an appointment today to get an assessment and find out about our orthodontic treatment options.


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