The development of a child’s bite is important. Sometimes parents think it is not that big of a deal since children will eventually lose their baby teeth so that their adult teeth can grow in. However, your child’s bite is important and should be examined when they are about six years old. This is the age at which children start to get their permanent teeth. By having an orthodontic exam, you can make sure there is no misalignment that needs to be addressed.
Early on, an orthodontic specialist will be able to identify whether there are any issues with your child’s bite. During the timeframe in which children grow their permanent teeth, which is from age six to eight, the growth of new teeth should be uniform without any gaps that are excessive. Similarly, there should not be any issues with teeth that are crowded because this can also pose a problem. Either of these issues can contribute to crooked teeth and long-term issues. Let’s take a closer look at the types of problems that can occur.
An overbite is when the upper teeth protrude farther than the lower teeth. When a child has an overbite, their canines and upper incisors protrude over their lower teeth.
An underbite is just the opposite of an overbite. When a child’s bite is properly positioned, the top teeth cover the lower teeth when their mouth is closed. When this does not happen and the upper teeth are further back than the lower teeth, it is considered an underbite.
Misaligned teeth is when there are certain teeth that do not align as they should with the other teeth. This can happen with either the lower or the upper row of teeth. When baby teeth grow in and they are not in the proper position, there is a good chance that the permanent teeth will have the same issue. Whether it’s a protrusion where a tooth is too far forward, or a retrusion where it’s positioned to far back, it’s an issue that should be addressed.
A crossbite is when teeth do not properly fit in a child’s mouth. This is an issue that can happen in both the upper and lower teeth. However, sometimes the overlap is normal for the upper teeth and not the lower teeth. The opposite can also be true where the upper teeth are not properly positioned.
An open bite is when there is a gap located in either the upper front teeth or the lower front teeth. This means there is a visible gap when your child’s jaw is shut. Sometimes this condition develops because pressure was placed on the front teeth from thumb sucking, which happens quite frequently. As a result, the front teeth start to develop further out than they should. When this happens, it can cause a shift in the teeth located in the back of your child’s mouth.
These are all issues that should be monitored with the help of an orthodontist. The specialist you choose for your child will be able to conduct an evaluation to determine if any of these conditions exist and what should be done as a result. The best-case scenario is that action is taken sooner than later to address any problems. The earlier you identify, acknowledge and address any of these issues, the easier and less costly it will become. More importantly, it is in the best interest of your child.
To learn more about orthodontic care, find and schedule an initial consultation with a TAO Member Orthodontist. You can find one through our local online directory.