Do you have crooked or misaligned teeth? If your upper and lower teeth don’t line up, you have a poor bite. This condition is commonly referred to as malocclusion. In a normal bite, the upper teeth are a bit more forward than the lower teeth. In malocclusion, there is considerable misalignment in the way the upper and lower teeth are positioned.
Malocclusion is primarily an esthetic issue. Most orthodontic patients are concerned about how their smile looks and want to have it improved. However, some are concerned with how this disorder affects the way they talk, chew or otherwise open and close their mouth.
For children suffering from malocclusion, orthodontic intervention is highly recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists as early as 7 years of age. But if what’s involved is an underdeveloped lower jaw, it is best-treated as soon as the child patient is able to cooperate with the treatment; usually this is around 5 years old.
In cases of severe crowding of teeth in children, many orthodontists may suggest early treatment to modify the growth of teeth. Some orthodontists, however, recommend extraction of certain teeth to create enough spaces between teeth to avoid crowding.
Where teeth have already erupted and resulted in mild crowding, most orthodontists may propose foregoing any treatment until more permanent teeth have emerged. They are hopeful that the malocclusion will improve by the time these kids reach their teen years.
Experts have reported that many children who started their orthodontic intervention in second or third grade have already completed their treatment by the time they reach high school.
Early orthodontic treatment also offers another benefit. Many orthodontists notice that child patients are more compliant with their treatment, cooperating with what their parents and orthodontists say about wearing their appliances many hours a day. Most teens, on the other hands, do not permit closer parental supervision compared to kids.
If you have health concerns regarding your child’s teeth or jaw, speak with am orthodontist.