IS IT TIME TO VISIT AN ORTHODONTIST FOR YOUR CHILD?
Around the age of 6 – 8 years, a child’s primary teeth (milk teeth) begin to loosen to make way for their permanent teeth. If all goes well, the permanent set of teeth will come out straight with the upper teeth slightly overlapping the bottom.
Unfortunately it doesn’t always go that well! A child may instead develop a poor bite (malocclusion) that interferes with normal function. If we can detect the early signs of a developing malocclusion, we may be able to intervene and lessen its impact. You as a parent can play a vital role in this early detection.
The problems that you should always watch out for are :
- Excessive spacing between your child’s teeth!
Normally, teeth should come out straight with slight gaps between them. Large gaps / spaces between your child’s teeth are what you should watch out for.
- Crowded teeth!
Crowded / crooked teeth are definitely a reason to worry and are an indication of a possible discrepancy between teeth and jaw sizes just like excessively spaced out teeth.
- Open bite!
This occurs when there’s a gap between the upper and lower front teeth while the jaws are shut together. One possible cause is late thumb sucking, which can put undue pressure on the front teeth and cause them to develop too far forward while forcing the bottom front teeth further backwards.
- Deep bite!
If the upper front teeth seem to come down too far over the lower, this could mean your child has a deep bite. In extreme cases the lower teeth actually bite into the roof of the mouth behind the upper teeth.
This kind of bite occurs when some of the teeth don’t fit properly over their counterparts, while others do. Normally, the upper teeth fall a little outside the lower teeth both in the front and at the back. Crossbites can occur anywhere in the mouth, for example the upper front teeth fitting behind the lower front teeth while the back teeth overlap normally or the upper back teeth fitting inside the lower back teeth while the front teeth overlap normally.
An underbite is when a person’s lower jaw (mandible) protrudes or extends forward, and in front of the upper jaw (maxilla), giving the chin and lower teeth an abnormal prominence.
- Overjet or severe protrusion!
Sometimes the upper teeth may align too far forward, a situation known as protrusion. Conversely, lower teeth (or the jaw itself) may come in too far back (retrusion). In either of the two situations, the upper teeth appear too far ahead and there is usually a large gap between the upper and lower front teeth.
- Abnormal eruptions!
A tooth / teeth may noticeably erupt out of it’s proper position.
If you notice any of these problems in your child’s mouth, it’s time to take your child for an orthodontic evaluation to uncover emerging problems with tooth / jaw alignment. If caught early, the orthodontist will be able to take action to lessen or in some cases, even eliminate the problem completely!
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