You may have an idea that your child needs an orthodontist, but you might not know what exactly their condition is called. Here are the 6 most common orthodontic conditions.
Common Orthodontic Conditions #1: Crowding
Children usually lose their baby teeth in the same order the teeth came in. If a patient does not lose baby teeth within what is considered the normal time frame and order, there are several issues that can require orthodontic intervention. Crowding of teeth may occur if the baby teeth are lost too soon. If baby teeth fall out too late, the permanent teeth may come in crowded and be crooked. If a permanent tooth comes in before a baby tooth is lost, it can create crowding. Although crowding isn’t an emergency, it is something that can affect the smile or bite of a child. If a child loses a tooth due to trauma or decay, early orthodontic treatment can include using a spacer to make sure that the permanent tooth comes in correctly.
Common Orthodontic Conditions #2: Overbites
While there are overbites that are hereditary, others are caused by malformed jaws. An overbite is a malocclusion and it occurs when the upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw. This is because of an underdeveloped lower jaw, or an over-developed upper jaw. Factors like thumb-sucking, tongue thrusts and prolonged bottle-feeding can result in overbites. Other habits like biting nails and chewing eraser-heads are also known to contribute to overbites.
While not all patients with overbites have problems, some with severe cases might suffer from jaw pain, poor dental and oral health, sleep apnea and other breathing difficulties, speech issues and low self-esteem.
Common Orthodontic Conditions #3: Underbites
An underbite is a malocclusion in which the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. This typically occurs when the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw. The severity of an underbite can range from mild (where the two rows of teeth almost meet) to severe (where the teeth do not meet at all). The main cause of an underbite is a misalignment of the lower jaw. Some patients are born with it; others inherit it; while yet others may develop an underbite because of poor dental care and bad habits.
Underbites don’t always cause problems. However, even if your child doesn’t suffer from a speech impediment or sinus problems, they may be subject to teasing from other children. Early orthodontic treatment involves taking x-rays and a mold to determine the cause of the misplaced bite. Then, treatment is customized for each child.
Children with underbites typically have trouble eating and speaking. Some might also suffer from chronic jaw pain, headaches and ear aches, tooth decay, halitosis, sleep apnea and other breathing difficulties.
Common Orthodontic Conditions #4: Crossbites
A crossbite can be either anterior or posterior. Essentially, it means that when your child bites down, their teeth don’t line up properly. A crossbite can cause dental problems and problems for your child’s self-esteem. It’s possible that an untreated crossbite can cause your child’s face to develop in an asymmetrical fashion. It can also cause gum disease and chronic pain in the jaw, neck and shoulders. A crossbite can be corrected with early orthodontic treatment and can save your child from a life full of chronic pain and low self-esteem.
The upper jaw behaves like a door frame that accepts a door closing into it. A small upper jaw might affect the way the lower jaw is able to close into it. If your child has such a jaw, it might develop into a crossbite. A unilateral crossbite is a problem any orthodontic will prefer to see prior to age 7. It is treated with a simple appliance that corrects the width of the upper jaw while allowing the lower jaw to re-center itself. It, therefore, contributes to more favorable future growth.
Common Orthodontic Conditions #5: Open Bites
Prolonged thumb sucking can cause an open bite. An open bite is a term used to describe when the upper and lower teeth are unable to make physical contact with each other. An open bite is known as maxillary impaction. The objective of early orthodontic in such a case will be to correct the space between the front and back teeth when your child bites down.
Sometimes an open bite corrects itself, but many times it can only be corrected with orthodontic care. In severe cases, surgical orthodontics might be the only way to correct the open bite. During surgery, bone from the upper jaw is removed and placed higher in order to help correct the problem. The lower jaw is re positioned as well.
Common Orthodontic Conditions #6: Overjets
Another serious concern is a big overjet. An overjet is when the upper and lower central incisors overlap. This is another issue that has a better chance of being corrected if treated early. Starting treatment early gives your orthodontist the time needed to help the lower jaw grow forward or push the upper jaw back into a better position.
You may be worried about your child’s smile, but a lot can be done. Schedule a free evaluation with OrthoWNY.