Orthodontic treatment for children has come a long way in recent years, especially in terms of correcting dental problems at an early age. With modern orthodontic tools and techniques, parents no longer need to wait until their children’s permanent teeth have come in before they can get treated for common childhood dental problems.
Here are 4 dental problems that you should look out for when your child is young:
1. Crowding & Spacing Issues
Your child may have alignment problems if their teeth are too large or small, are spaced too close together or too far apart, or if their jaws are too small or narrow for normal growth of teeth. This can cause difficulties in chewing or biting, difficulty in cleaning teeth, or speech issues, as well as aesthetic concerns.
Warning signs include losing baby teeth too early or too late, tooth loss due to trauma or decay, and delays in the eruption of permanent teeth. Crowding and improper spacing of teeth can be corrected with orthodontic spacers and expansion-type dental appliances.
2. Maxillary Expansion (Open Bites)
This is where your kid’s back teeth come together when they bite, but there is a gap between top and bottom teeth in front. Often caused by abnormal jaw growth, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting, open bites can cause problems with biting, chewing, eating, and speaking.
An open bite may correct itself when your child stops sucking their thumb. However, orthodontic intervention may be required if the habit is prolonged or issues with jaw growth cause abnormal tongue habits. Early orthodontics can help correct the space between the front and back teeth while biting.
3. Overbites & Underbites
If your child’s upper jaw extends too far beyond the lower jaw while biting, they have an overbite (also known as overjets or deep bites). Underbites are not as common, occurring when upper front teeth lie behind lower front teeth while biting. Both issues can be caused by abnormal jaw growth or tongue habits.
Without orthodontic treatment, protruding teeth can cause excessive tooth wear, along with gum damage from teeth biting into the upper or lower gum. They may also create childhood speech or sinus problems, and your child may require extensive dental work or surgery to correct these issues later.
Your child’s upper teeth should fit right outside the lower ones when they bite, like a box lid or door frame. If their upper jaw is too small or narrow, however, their lower jaw may move to the side in order for their back teeth to close together. Known as a crossbite, this can be either anterior or posterior.
In addition to dental issues and aesthetic concerns, crossbites can also lead to abnormal or asymmetrical facial development as well as chronic jaw, neck, and shoulder pain. The use of palatal expanders and other orthodontic appliances can help widen the upper jaw in order to correct this problem.
Preventive care and treatment are very important for your child’s dental health, not only during the early stages of their growth and development but throughout their lives. Many orthodontic issues are easier to correct at a young age, and the right appliances or braces for kids can prevent a lot of complications down the line!