Does My Child Need Orthodontics?

Here at Affiliated Dentists in Madison, Wisconsin, we are proud to offer pediatric dentistry among other dental services. Although we do offer invisalign clear braces, we do not offer traditional metal orthodontic services. We do regularly refer pediatric patients who may have orthodontic needs. Catching orthodontic issues early on can make correcting them easier and may prevent oral health issues that arise from misaligned teeth. If you’ve been wondering, does my child need orthodontics?, here are a few signs we look for when examining our patients for orthodontic concerns.

  • Crowded and Crooked Teeth
  • Prolonged Thumb Sucking
  • An Uneven Bite
  • Early Loss of Baby Teeth

Crowded and Crooked Teeth

Crowded or crooked teeth might be a sign that orthodontic work may be in your child’s future. Erupting teeth will take the easiest path into the mouth. If there is not enough space in your child’s mouth, teeth may twist, turn, or overlap in order to come in.

If your child is experiencing significant crookedness or crowding, we may refer him or her to the orthodontist. To correct the issue of too little space in the mouth, the first phase of orthodontic work may be to fit your child with an expander to widen the jaw. This will create enough space for your child’s permanent teeth to come in more easily.

Prolonged Thumb Sucking

Another reason why we might refer your child to the orthodontist is if your child has a significant thumb sucking habit. If your child is older than four and consistently sucks on his or her fingers, lips, a pacifier, or even clothing, the sucking action can push teeth forward, misshape facial bones, or create an open bite, where the top and bottom teeth don’t meet when your child bites down.

Orthodontic devices are available to help curb thumb sucking in older children. Removable retainers or fixed appliances can be placed that discourage the habit.

For tips on how to help your child break the habit, read: Help Your Child Break Bad Oral Habits This New Year

An Uneven Bite

When the top and bottom teeth don’t fit together properly, it results in an uneven bite. Patients may be experiencing any one of the following an overbite, overjet, underbite, crossbite, or openbite.

We may refer your child to an orthodontist if he or she experiences symptoms of an uneven bite, such as difficulty speaking, chewing, or brushing or even jaw pain.

Other signs of an uneven bite to watch out for are: teeth grinding, mouth breathing, chewing on the cheek, and jaws that shift or make a popping, clicking, or grinding sound.

Early Loss of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are place holders for permanent teeth. If baby teeth are lost too early without permanent teeth following closely behind, the remaining teeth can shift, making it difficult for the permanent teeth to erupt properly when it is time. The shift in teeth can also cause bite problems.

Early baby tooth loss might be a reason why we would refer a young patient to the orthodontist. The orthodontist might need to place an appliance that keeps the other teeth in place while the permanent tooth descends and comes in.

Occasionally, a child might not have enough permanent teeth. This condition is also something an orthodontist can monitor and manage. Getting an early start on treatment can prevent more serious complications from arising.

Pediatric Dentistry in Madison, Wisconsin

If you have concerns about your child’s teeth or bite, we would be happy to examine him or her to see if orthodontics could improve his or her oral health. To schedule an appointment, call our offices today.

Does My Child Need Orthodontics? brought to you by Dr. Mark Gustavson

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