Malocclusions (bite issues) are common in children as well as adults. While some malocclusions are so minor that no treatment would provide a demonstrable benefit, moderate to serious malocclusions may require intervention in the form of orthodontic appliances such as braces.
For this reason, regular dental checkups are critical because they provide an opportunity for a dental professional to spot small problems before they become big ones. During a routine exam, your dentist may be able to determine if the child's jaws are growing properly and at the same rate.
If your child has any of the following symptoms, a more detailed orthodontic exam may be called for:
- Abnormal bite relationship (teeth that don’t match up well when biting)
- Baby teeth that are lost too early or too late
- Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Breathing through the mouth excessively (instead of through the nose)
- Disproportionate teeth or jaws
- Problems with biting down or chewing food
- Teeth that have become crowded, knocked out or in the wrong place
- Thumb-sucking or finger-sucking
- "Loose" jaws that can be easily shifted around or make popping noises when opening or closing
Benefits of early treatment in children
Here are just some of the benefits of catching problems early:
- Avoiding impacted teeth
- Avoid the need for tooth extractions
- Avoiding more costly and lengthy orthodontic treatments in later life
- Avoiding soft tissue and palate injuries from protruding teeth
- Bad habits like thumb- or finger- sucking can be corrected
- Correcting breathing, speaking, swallowing or eating problems
- Creating space for newly erupting or future erupting teeth
- Erupting teeth and jaws can be gently glided into their correct positions
As your child grow
Early identification of orthodontic issues provides the opportunity guide proper growth your child develops. This prevents more invasive and extensive ‘correction’ of increasingly serious issues as your child gets older.
Orthodontic appliances can do wonders as your child develops. For example, an appliance may stave off problems with an upper or lower jaw that isn't growing at the same rate as the other, or correct problems that are creating difficulties with chewing or swallowing. Whatever the cause, orthodontic treatment during your child's development will reap substantial dividends in adult life, including avoidance of possible surgery, improved oral health and improved self-esteem.