As a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our office will be limiting dental procedures until further notice. However, we will see patients experiencing dental emergencies. Call our office at (209) 531-9003.

Orthodontic Terminology

The goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you a beautiful smile and proper bite. In other words, Acree & Isenhower Family Dentistry wants you to have straight teeth that fit well together. Patient education is an important part of orthodontic treatment. Here is a list of the most common orthodontic problems.

Tooth Crowding and Spacing

Crowding occurs when there is a lack of space for all of your teeth to fit normally within your jaw. This can cause your teeth to twist or displace from the appropriate position. Tooth crowding may be the result of a small jaw, large teeth, the premature or delayed loss of primary teeth, and improper eruption of permanent teeth. Crowding should be corrected to:
•  Prevent tooth decay
•  Decrease your chances of gum disease
•  Maintain functioning and clean teeth
•  Make your smile more attractive

Tooth spacing is the opposite of crowding. You may have excess space between your teeth if your jaw is too large, your teeth are too small, or you have missing or impacted teeth. Spacing should be corrected to:
•  Protect and prevent your gums from potential complications
•  Improve the function of your teeth
•  Make your smile more attractive


An overbite is the most common malocclusion or deviation from a “normal” bite. An overbite occurs when the teeth in the upper jaw improperly overlap your lower teeth. An overbite can be hereditary; however, jaws can grow unevenly as the result of certain habits. For example, thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, nail-biting, and bad chewing habits can result in an overbite as well. Most overbites can be treated with headgear and traditional braces. If the overbite is severe, a tooth extraction or surgical procedure may be necessary.


An underbite is a malocclusion that occurs when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. The main cause of an underbite is a misalignment of the lower jaw, usually present since birth. Underbites can give the impression of an unintended emotional expression, and lead to self-esteem issues due to common social stigmas. Patients with underbites may have difficulty chewing, challenges with speaking, chronic jaw pain, sleep apnea, tooth decay, and excessive wear of enamel. To correct an underbite, we may recommend an appliance known as an upper jaw expander. We may also recommend a “reverse-pull” face mast that pulls the upper jaw back into the right position. Severe underbites may require surgical intervention.


A crossbite is a malocclusion that occurs when one or more of the top teeth rest inside the lower teeth, instead of overlap. Crossbites are esthetically unpleasing and can interfere with your ability to chew, talk, and maintain proper oral hygiene. Over time, you may also develop issues with your temporomandibular joint, tooth decay, gum disease, and enamel loss. A crossbite can be hereditary or caused by delayed loss of primary teeth, prolonged use of a pacifier, and oversized tonsils. To correct a crossbite, we may use a palatal expander to widen your upper jaw and allow your lower teeth to fit properly with your upper teeth. We may also recommend traditional braces, a protraction face mask, or surgical intervention.


An open bite is a malocclusion that occurs when the upper and lower teeth are unable to make physical contact with each other when the jaws close. An open bite can be caused by poor oral habits such as thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, and the sucking of the lower lip. To treat an open bite, we may recommend a roller appliance, headgear, a bite block, a vertical chin cup, mini-anchors, or surgical intervention.

Schedule Your Appointment!

If you are in need of orthodontic treatment, call (209) 531-9003, and schedule your appointment now!
  • Office Hours

  • Mo8:00am–5:00pm
  • Tu7:00am–4:30pm
  • We9:30am–7:00pm
  • Th7:00am–4:30pm
  • *Closed on Fridays