Dental Growth Questions
If you are noticing that your children’s teeth need orthodontic work, you may be wondering how their dental growth is affecting their smile. Here are some answers to commonly asked dental growth questions.
Dental Growth Questions #1 | What Affects Dental Growth of Jaw
People often wonder how genetics can affect orthodontics. The simple answer is that different genetic components can play a role in our ability to treat patients. One such genetic factor is missing teeth. If parents are missing teeth, very often their children will be missing teeth. We want to know about those situations so that we can identify those problems on an x-ray. Orthodontics can also be affected by extra teeth. Just like missing teeth, extra teeth can be identified on x-rays, and that’s a genetic component.
Another genetic component is the way jaws grow and develop. We sometimes see patients with an underbite – the most genetically-influenced bite that we see as orthodontists. In the case of an overbite, that, too, has a small genetic component. If a parent’s bite is misaligned, they can expect their children to have a situation like that, so they’ll want to see an orthodontist as soon as they identify that problem.
Another aspect of influences on the way jaws grow and develop has to do with the environment, including any of a number of other influences such as cheek pressure, tongue pressure, or individual habits. Anything from the outside affecting the bite is called an environmental aspect. There’s the genetic and there’s the environmental.
Dental Growth Questions #2 | Can Childhood Growth Correct an Orthodontic Problem?
One of the big reasons we want to see kids at a young age is that we can really use their growth and development to their advantage. For instance, if we have a really big overjet – with the upper teeth in front of the lower teeth when viewed from the side – very often, we need the lower jaw to do some growing for us. Remaining growth can really help us to achieve that bite correction. It’s not going to happen by itself, however. What we often need to do is make the upper jaw the proper size and shape first, and then give that lower jaw the encouragement it needs to do some growing forward.
The other thing is that if you see a kid with an underbite at a young age, we know the lower jaw has the propensity to keep growing, so we need to use that growing time to our advantage and try to make the upper jaw fit forward where it belongs. You can use growth to your advantage. We use growth all day, every day in our practice to get bites to fit together better. That’s the huge reason that we want to see patients at an earlier age.
If you have any further dental growth questions, please call our Buffalo office to schedule a free screening today.