Moffett & Walley Orthodontics Answers Your Common Orthodontic Questions

New to braces? Dr. Moffett and Dr. Walley are here to help!

Get answers to the most common orthodontic questions from people like you in Clinton and Madison. If you don't see your question listed, always feel free to call our office and our helpful team members can answer all your questions.

Answers to Common Questions

*Some Text Courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists

Common Orthodontic Problems in Clinton & Madison

Madison Orthodontics

Abnormal Eruption

Abnormal eruption is when a tooth emerges through the gum in the wrong place. If the tooth is blocked from growing in fully (a situation called impaction), a minor oral surgical procedure may be required to uncover the tooth before orthodontic treatment begins.

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Crossbite is when one or more of the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth rather than outside. This is usually related to misalignment of the upper and lower jaws. In a child who is still growing, widening the upper jaw with an orthodontic appliance called a palatal expander may solve the problem.

Madison Orthodontics


Crowding results from a lack of space for the teeth to fit normally within the jaws, either because the teeth are too big or the jaws are too small. Possible solutions may include removing some teeth and/or making more room in the jaws with a palatal expander or through a surgical procedure.

Madison Orthodontics

Excessive Spacing

Excessive spacing may result when one or more teeth fail to grow in, are lost to trauma or disease, or there is a discrepancy between jaw size and tooth size. It's important to close the gaps because excessive space allows nearby teeth to shift out of position.

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Open Bite

Open bite occurs when the upper and lower front teeth do not come together when biting, resulting in an open space between the two. This is often the result of tongue thrusting (also called infantile swallowing pattern) and/or prolonged thumb sucking.

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Overbite (deep bite) is when the upper front teeth bite too far down over the lower teeth. Sometimes the bite is so deep that the upper teeth cover the lower teeth completely, forcing the lower teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth (palate). This often results from a discrepancy in jaw size.

Madison Orthodontics


Overjet (protrusion) is when the upper front teeth extend too far forward or the lower teeth don't extend far enough forward.

This may be related to genetics, improper jaw development, missing lower teeth and/or improper alignment of the molars. Thumb sucking or tongue thrusting can exacerbate the problem.

Madison Orthodontics


Underbite occurs when the lower front teeth extend past the upper front teeth. It can be caused by an overgrowth of the lower jaw and/or undergrowth of the upper jaw.

Depending on the severity, treatment may involve conventional orthodontics and/or jaw (orthognathic) surgery.

If you are concerned about the alignment of your teeth, or your children's teeth, please schedule a consultation at our Clinton or Madison office. We would be happy to advise you about your treatment options.