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West Seattle (206) 935-2414

Southcenter (206) 575-1194

Renton Highlands (425) 430-8844

Common Problems

In an ideal bite, the teeth are all well-aligned, with upper teeth biting just slightly outside of the lower teeth all around the U-shape of the mouth. Studies estimate that nearly 70% of people have at least mild orthodontic problems, such as crooked teeth or misaligned bites. So why is it more common for humans to have imperfect bites than good ones?

In truth, no one knows for sure. Some evidence points to evolutionary reasons. Several scientists believe that the evolution of our modern diet with more processed foods over the ages has caused changes in our facial structures, but our teeth haven’t always kept pace with the changes. Genetics also play a role in orthodontic problem, as well as individual factors like poor oral habits or premature loss of baby teeth.

If you indeed have a “bad” bite, take comfort in the fact that you live in an age where orthodontic treatment can fix just about any bite problems in ways that are more efficient, accurate, and comfortable than ever before.

Here are the common types of problems we see at Sound Orthodontics:

crooked teeth

Crooked teeth

Crooked teeth often occur when the jaw is not wide enough to fit all of a person’s teeth comfortably. The teeth end up askew because large adult teeth are trying to fit into too small of a space.

Spaces between teeth

Diastema, the scientific name for when a smile has gaps, can occur when teeth are too small for the jaw. You can also see gaps when permanent teeth are missing and the other teeth can’t fill in the missing space. Other issues like thumb sucking or a low soft tissue attachment, can cause a diastema.



Excessive Overjet/Overbite

A bite in which the upper jaw noticeably protrudes beyond the lower jaw is referred to as an “overjet”. When the upper teeth overlap too much of the lower teeth, it’s called an “overbite”.  A large overjet can cause speech impediments such as lisps and may cause difficulty when eating. Excessive overbites can lead to early wear on the front teeth.


The opposite of an excessive overjet is an underbite, when the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw. It can cause teeth to wear unevenly and lead to uncoordinated growth of the upper and lower jaws. This is best evaluated early.

under bite

cross bite


Crossbites are when the upper teeth on one side end up on the inside of the lower teeth when the jaw is closed. Crossbites are a more severe condition than either overbites or crowding. Crossbites can wear down teeth and lead to asymmetric growth of the lower jaw, which cannot be corrected easily once the patient has stopped growing. Crossbites are best treated early in childhood.

Open bites

If the jaw is closed and the back teeth touch but the front teeth do not, it’s called an “open bite”. An open bite is an aesthetic issue that can cause speech impediments, difficulty when eating and excessive stress on the jaw joints.

open bite

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