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Opening Hours

Mon-Fri: 9-6 & Sat: 9-3

Book Appointment

Free Consultation and Exam

Crossbites, Underbites, Openbites and Overbites – Oh My!

Ladera Ranch, CA – There are many different types of malocclusions and many different options for orthodontic treatment. Dr. Reza Salmassian and Dr. Robert Gire of Ladera Orthodontics explain some of the most common – Crossbites, Underbites, Openbites and Overbites.


A crossbite can occur toward the front or on the sides of the mouth and is characterized by one or more upper teeth biting on the inside of the lower teeth. Crossbites are best to correct with early treatment because they can cause more severe dental issues, such as abnormal wear of the teeth, gum disease, and misproportioned growth of the jaws.

When only one tooth is out of place, braces alone can guide that tooth to its proper location and perfect the bite. If more than one tooth is involved, your orthodontist may recommend expanding the patient’s arch through an appliance like a palatal expander before or during braces to correct the bite.


An underbite is characterized by the lower teeth and/or jaw protruding over the upper teeth. When the mouth is closed, the lower teeth overlap the top teeth. Just like any other malocclusion, severity can range from minimal, which is barely noticeable, to severe, which can distort facial features.

Most underbites are inherited, so there isn’t much that can be done to prevent them. To correct an underbite, the orthodontist will factor in the patient’s age. For young patients, the underbite can be corrected without surgery. A palatal expander may be used to widen the upper jaw, or headgear could be used. These methods can move the upper jaw to allow for it to properly fit over the lower jaw. Some adults and those with more severe underbites may require surgery to correct.


An openbite is characterized by a lack of overlap between the teeth. In a normal bite, the top front teeth will overlap the bottom front teeth slightly. In an open bite, there will be a space between the top and bottom teeth when the mouth is closed. It is typically caused by habits such as tongue thrust, finger or thumb sucking, or jaws that have not grown evenly.

It is important to stop any habits that may contribute to an open bite prior to treatment. An openbite can be corrected using braces or clear aligner therapy (CAT). If a severe discrepancy in the upper and lower jaws exists, and the patient is older, surgery may be required.


An overbite occurs when the upper teeth extrude too far or the upper teeth completely cover the bottom teeth. It can be caused by discrepancy in the growth of the jaws, an overdevelopment of the bone that supports the teeth, and can cause issues if not corrected. Problems that can stem from a severe overbite include biting into the top palate because the bite is excessively deep, unusual wear of the lower front teeth, and jaw issues.

To correct an overbite, the front teeth will need to be moved up and the back teeth will be better positioned to open the bite, allowing it to be aligned properly.
There are a variety of orthodontic treatment options to choose from to correct these malocclusions. The good news is that orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. So whether you are looking for treatment for your child or for yourself, the right treatment is waiting. From standard metal braces to clear aligner therapy and everything in between, Ladera Orthodontics has the perfect solution for you. Call us to schedule your complimentary consultation today: 949-272-8782.

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