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FAQ:  Crowded Teeth



Question:
I began orthodontic treatment to correct crowded teeth and to widen my upper and lower jaw. Prior to this, my teeth enmeshed together perfectly and there was no problem with my bite.

I first had upper and lower palate expanders for about 1 and a half years which widened my smile and created space and then braces were used to close the gaps.

The problem is that now my lower jaw is too wide for the top jaw and my orthodontist says that my lower jaw has moved forward. He said that this is it's natural position and by opening up my bite it has allowed to move into this position.Now my teeth do not meet and I have a Class 3 Howe's Bite.

My ortho says this is unusual in the Western population but commom amongst Japanese people but I am not Japanese. I am Turkish Italian and German ethnicity. How can my lower jaw be made smaller for the teeth to fit together again? I have had the braces for about 1 and a half years also so 3 years all together since I started treatment. ...Visitor from MA

Answer:
The discussion of why your lower jaw moved forward is centered around the following question: Did your jaw grow forward, or simply shift forward?

The answer to this question is quite complicated in that it may very well be a combination of both growth and shift. If you are of an age (around puberty) in which you would undergo a growth spurt, you may indeed have grown into that position. If not around a pubertal age during such growth, you probably merely shifted forward. If growth is the reason, even a small amount of growth may be the impetus for a large accomodating shift, leading to the appearance of a grand problem.

In such a case, the small amount of growth can sometimes be dealt with simply with some elastic wear. DIAGNOSIS, DIAGNOSIS, DIAGNOSIS! It must now be determined how much of your current position is due to growth versus shift. Once determined, a spectrum of treatment options can be provided.

I suggest that you ask your orthodontist (or another orthodontist) to evaluate your CR (Centric Relation) position to determine how much growth versus shift explains your forward bite.

Editorial Staff

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