Time to Stretch Your Orthodontic Vocab

School may be out for the summer, but it’s never a bad time to stretch your orthodontic vocabulary! Orthodontics is the dental specialty that deals with how the teeth are positioned in the jaw and how the upper and lower jaws meet. There is a specialized vocabulary that describes orthodontic issues. We are always happy to answer your questions and make sure you are fully informed on orthodontic issues that may affect you (or your child’s) oral health, comfort and beautiful smile.

Have You Heard These Orthodontic Words?

We hear many questions about orthodontic care. You should always ask if you are not familiar with a term that comes up when discussing treatment options.
Occlusion and malocclusion: Occulsion describes the way the upper and lower jaws meet. With proper occlusion, the back molars meet comfortably, without excess pressure. There are orthodontic solutions to malocclusion (when the jaws do not meet in a comfortable, attractive and healthy manner.)
Palate : the roof of the mouth. There are two portions to the palate. The hard palate is towards the front of the mouth and the soft palate is the muscular area, behind the hard palate, towards the rear of the mouth.
Maxillary teeth: The teeth attached to the upper jaw
Mandibular teeth: The teeth attached to the lower jaw
Crossbite: A type of malocclusion, usually referencing a side-to-side point of view. For example, a back tooth or teeth may be closer to the cheek side, or to the center portion of the palate, causing an awkward meeting when the upper or lower jaws come together. This can cause difficulty when chewing, and also lead to uneven pressure on teeth and jaws.
Openbite: Openbite refers to a situation when the top and bottom teeth do not closely meet, leaving a space, even when the jaws are closed. This can be a congenital issue, and openbite can also be cause by habits such a tongue thrust, thumb sucking, pacifier use, and consistently chewing on items such as pencils. Orthodontic treatment can resolve most cases of openbite. It may be present for a short time, when baby teeth and permanent teeth are present in the mouth at the same time, and in this case, may not need orthodontic treatment.

We are Happy to Share Orthodontic Vocabulary with You

Don’t let unknown words make you shy about getting the orthodontic treatment you need. We invite you to schedule an appointment with your Katy, TX dentist at Lathrop Dental Center by calling 832-437-3849. We proudly welcome patients and families from Katy, Fulshear, Weston Lakes, Simonton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Brookshire, Wallis, Orchard, Cypress, Sealy, Columbus, and all surrounding communities.

Ready to fall in love with your smile, but not sure where to start? Send us a photo or a question of your smile, and Dr. Lathrop will respond!