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Signs Your Child May Need Ortho Treatment
Posted on 10/21/2016
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Signs Your Child May Need Ortho Treatment

According to some orthodontic studies, one in four individuals will need some type of orthodontic care during their lifetime. Some of these problems can be easily noticed, but a larger portion are not so easily recognized and require diagnosis by an orthodontist.  Early diagnosis is key to successful treatment,and not addressing these problems may have a negative impact on your child’s oral health. So how are you supposed to know whether your child might need orthodontic treatment? One way is to make sure your child visits the dentist regularly, beginning around age one. Then, by age seven, take your child to a qualified orthodontist to have an expert evaluation.


1. Crooked or Crowded Teeth

Crowding may cause teeth to look slanted, twisted, and uneven. It can even cause teeth to appear in front of or behind the tooth next to it in an overlapping fashion. Crowding is one of the most common reason for your child to see an orthodontist. The situation can become worse as your child gets older which can make it difficult to properly brush and floss. Allowing plaque to build up can lead to a greater possibility of tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and the loss of bone around teeth.

2. Missing or extra teeth

Baby teeth serve to help develop your child’s jaw, muscles and adult teeth. If they are lost too soon, due to accident or other reasons, it can hinder proper dental development. The loss of baby teeth can cause excessive spacing, leaving large gaps between teeth which can cause gum issues. It can also allow abnormal eruption of teeth where permanent teeth break through the gum in the wrong location. When this happens, the misplaced tooth may never develop proper gum support. Periodontal pockets can then form around the misaligned teeth, which can collect bacteria that can cause tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even bone loss later in life.

3. Usual Bite Or Jaw Structure

When problems develop with how the upper and lower teeth come together to form a bite, it’s called malocclusion. Malocclusion is a common problem that can be treated with orthodontic care. If left untreated, bite or jaw misalignments can have lifelong implications. While these issues can often be easily corrected in a growing child, they are much more difficult to address as an adult. There are many different types of malocclusion, but the most common include:


The term overjet is used when your child’s top front teeth protrude far out - sometimes even over the lips. This situation can be dangerous for your child as he or she may be more likely to break or crack those front teeth.


When your child’s upper teeth excessively overlap their lower teeth, your child has this type of malocclusion, also called a deep bite.  An overbite can also cause an increased risk in trauma to the front teeth and it can also cause unhealthy tooth wear, under development of the lower jaw, and sometimes jaw pain.


Opposite of overbite, if your child has an underbite his or her upper front teeth are behind the lower front teeth. A child with an underbite likely has an uneven jaw size which can cause an imbalanced facial profile, difficulty biting and chewing.


With a crossbite, any or all of the upper teeth fit into the wrong side of the lower teeth. This problem can result in excessive wear or fracture of teeth, recessed gums, and uneven jaw growth.

Open bite

In some instances, your child’s front teeth on the top and bottom don’t touch at all. This is called an open bite and can cause speech problems like lisps and difficulty biting.

4. Be Aware Of Your Child’s Oral Behaviors

In general, you should pay attention to your child’s physical and emotional behaviors with regards to their mouth and teeth. Some behaviors can cause dental problems later such as thumb- or finger-sucking, or tongue-thrusting past the toddler stage. Watch for any trouble biting or chewing food as it might be an indication that their bite is off. And, watch for any speech problems that could be related to orthodontic needs. Braces and other orthodontic procedures may help to improve your child’s self-esteem and confidence.

If you have any concerns about your child’s dental health, contact your local Scottsdale dentist or orthodontist. Most orthodontists, such as the experts at Scottsdale's Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, are happy to offer a free consultation.  Upon an initial examination, they can offer feedback about whether your child might be a candidate for braces, Invisalign or other orthodontic procedures and the best time to start any treatments. It’s very important to ask any questions you have about your child’s oral health to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease as well as any harm or pain to the jaw or teeth.