Whether you have a few slightly crooked teeth or major alignment problems, an experienced orthodontist can help you get the smile you deserve. How that happens, however, depends in part on the orthodontic classification of your teeth.

So, what are the three classes of orthodontic treatment and what do they mean for you?

What Are the Three Classes of Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontic issues are classified based on the position of the teeth and the alignment of the jaw. Each class requires a unique treatment approach to support optimal function and health.

Class I

In the first of the three classes of orthodontic treatment, there is a normal relationship between the upper and lower teeth. The jaw is well-positioned and your bite is balanced. However, you may still experience issues like:

  • Crowding
  • Rotations
  • Spacing problems
  • Crooked teeth

In some cases, these issues can make it more difficult to practice good oral self-care and increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. If you’re unhappy with how your smile looks, even class I orthodontic cases can seriously impact your emotional wellness.

Class 1 orthodontic treatment typically focuses on straightening teeth using braces or clear aligners, such as Invisalign.


Class II

In Class II cases, the upper teeth and jaw project further than the lower teeth and jaw. Often referred to as an overbite, this type of misalignment can cause:

  • Increased chance of trauma to your front teeth
  • Tenderness and fatigue when chewing
  • Tooth grinding
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues
  • Headaches
  • Jaw soreness

The exact nature of Class II orthodontic treatment depends on the severity of misalignment and the age of the patient. In mild cases, treatment may involve braces or clear aligner treatment in combination with fixed appliances. In more severe cases, surgery may be required. While it’s best to correct Class II alignment problems in childhood, it’s never too late to seek treatment.


Class III

In Class III orthodontic cases, the lower teeth and jaw project further than the upper teeth and jaw. These are often referred to as an underbite and can result in:

  • Eating and chewing difficulties
  • Headaches
  • Tooth decay
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Halitosis
  • Sleep apnea

These cases are the least common and the most complex to treat. Ideally, Class III misalignment is addressed in childhood, when the jaw is still developing, but it is still possible to treat in adulthood. At any age, treatment should be personalized and may involve surgery, fixed appliances, and a period of clear aligner treatment.

Asking, “What are the three classes of orthodontic treatment?” is a good start to your journey toward better oral health. The next step is getting the right diagnosis.

Getting the Right Diagnosis

When it comes to identifying and correcting alignment issues, an orthodontist is your biggest ally. They have the training, experience, and technologies necessary to correctly diagnose all types of orthodontic problems to ensure you get the best treatment.

The diagnostic process involves:

  • A full medical and dental health history
  • A clinical examination
  • X-rays of your teeth and jaw

Based on their findings, your orthodontist will determine the best course of action and tailor your treatment plan to your unique needs.

Beverly Hills Orthodontics: Unparalleled Expertise

We understand the importance of a healthy, beautiful smile—and we know how to get you there. Led by Dr. Monica Madan, our team has a wealth of experience in all three classes of orthodontic treatment.

Whether you require simple teeth straightening or more complex care, we use the most advanced methods available to create the best outcomes. We are also one of the only practices in the country with the expertise to integrate Invisalign into even Class II and Class II treatment, giving you more options than ever before. Together, we can create a smile you’re proud to show the world.

What are the three classes of orthodontic treatment? Where do your needs fit in? We’ll help you find the answers to all your questions. Call or text us at 310-785-0770 or visit our contact page to book a complimentary consultation today.