Types of Malocclusion and How They Can Be Treated

Teeth become crooked, shifted, and misaligned for a number of different reasons. Discover the different types of malocclusions – the medical term for misalignment of teeth and bite – and learn about how our orthodontist at Melbourne Orthodontics corrects these problems.


The Different Types of Malocclusion

There are many different types of malocclusions. The following are the most common types of malocclusions that orthodontists encounter:

  • Overbite
  • Crossbite
  • Overcrowding
  • Overjet
  • Anterior crossbite – commonly called an underbite
  • Spacing issues
  • Diastema
  • Impacted teeth
  • Missing teeth

Orthodontic patients can suffer from only one of these malocclusions or they may suffer from multiple types of malocclusions. For example, you could suffer from an overbite and overcrowded teeth.


Taking a Closer Look at the Different Types of Malocclusions

Learn specifically what it means to have each type of malocclusion.


An increased overjet occurs when the top teeth horizontally extend past the bottom teeth. People with a large overjet can experience problems with speech and eating.


A deep overbite occurs when the upper teeth extend past the bottom teeth by more than 2-3mm.  The upper teeth extend downward towards the gums and you can’t see much of the lower front teeth.  People with this problem tend to show more wear on the teeth, usually from night-time grinding.


Crossbites occur when the upper teeth are misaligned in such a way that they bite or sit on the insides of the lower teeth. Crossbites can happen to the front and back teeth and they can occur on both sides of the mouth or just one side.


Overcrowding is probably the most common type of malocclusion. Overcrowding happens when the teeth are misaligned in a way that they appear overlapping or crooked.

Anterior Crossbite or Underbite

Underbites happen when the lower front teeth extend beyond the upper front teeth.  These types of bites are often caused by an imbalance in upper and lower jaw sizes.

Spacing of the Teeth

All permanent teeth are supposed to contact the adjacent teeth.  Spacing issues can happen between any two teeth in your mouth and often lead to getting food trapped in these areas and having gum problems in these areas.

Open bite

An open bite occurs when the upper and lower teeth do not overlap.  These types of bites make it difficult to completely cut through foods like sandwiches and pizza with the front teeth.


A diastema is a type of spacing issue. This is just a single gap that occurs between two teeth and the term is typically referring to a space between the upper front two teeth.

Impacted Teeth

A tooth that has failed to erupt through the gums naturally is considered to be impacted. When this happens, it can cause spacing issues to the surrounding teeth, bite problems and potentially even lead to damage to surrounding structures.

Missing Teeth

Missing teeth can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes a tooth just fails to form, other times it became damaged in an accident or was removed due to extensive tooth decay.


Orthodontic Treatments Used to Treat the Different Types of Malocclusions

Melbourne Orthodontics offers a number of different types of treatment options that can help correct any malocclusion you may be experiencing.

Some of the treatment options that are commonly used by our orthodontist include:

  • Traditional braces or ceramic braces  – braces can treat almost any type of malocclusion ranging from crossbites to overcrowding and minor spacing issues
  • Invisalign – used to treat some of the more minor malocclusions, such as spacing or overcrowding. Invisalign does not commonly treat malocclusions that are caused by improper placement or growth of the jaw such as overbites and underbites.
  • Surgical orthodontics – sometimes used to correct malocclusions in adults where the jaw needs to be realigned. Surgical orthodontics can be used to treat severe overbites, underbites, and crossbites. It can also be used to remove teeth if there isn’t enough space to help teeth move into their proper position.
  • Orthodontic devices – sometimes braces aren’t always needed. Sometimes certain orthodontic devices, such as lower lingual arches and habit correctors can help correct malocclusions

See how orthodontics can improve your smile by scheduling an orthodontic consultation at Melbourne Orthodontics. Call our office today to schedule an appointment!