Crowding: Teeth erupt into the mouth rotated (crooked) because there is not enough space to take their position in the mouth. Different conditions in the child’s dentition can cause crowding. Most commonly a narrow arch is the cause. Expansion of the jaw is the preferred method of creating space for crowded teeth to be straightened.

Rotations: Rotated teeth are a result of crowding. Expansion opens more space for rotated teeth to be straightened and then rotated back to an ideal position.

Deep Bite: This is a condition dentists call an ‘Overbite’. It is the measurement of the vertical overlapping of the upper anterior teeth over the lower anterior teeth. In an ideal relationship, the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth by 1 to 4 mm. As we all age, our overbite deepens/worsens. So, we like to minimize this condition for teenagers in braces.

Minimal Overjet: This is similar to an overbite/deep bite, but in a horizontal direction, not vertical. This could be also phrased as protrusion of the upper front teeth. Again, as in overbite, too much is not ideal, and no overjet is likewise not desirable.

A Narrow Smile: Most appealing in a smile is to see a mouth full of teeth with no spaces in the corners. Look at smiling faces in advertisements. They have great smiles wherein only teeth are visible from one corner to the other. There are no dark spaces, just all teeth. Narrow smiles are created when permanent teeth are extracted for correction of a crowded condition. The teeth in narrow smiles are straight, but the smile is too big for the teeth; dark space is exposed in the corners of the mouth when smiling. We straighten teeth for a full smile.

A Flat Profile: A profile is seen from the side and a patient looking forward when teeth and lips are together not smiling. A full profile is when the lips are full and forward of an imaginary line is drawn from the tip of the nose to the tip of the chin. Obviously, when noses or chins are big this does not hold true. A flat profile is when the lips are behind the imaginary line drawn. Flat profiles are created when permanent teeth are extracted for correction of a crowded condition. We straighten teeth to create or maintain a full profile.

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