December 18, 2022
Malocclusion is the technical term for crooked teeth, which is a condition that can happen with or without misaligned jaws. Malocclusion usually starts in childhood and if it's not treated at the right time it can develop into more complex issues such as tooth wear, speech difficulties and, of course, inevitable self-confidence issues that may affect your child's future. But what causes it, and how is malocclusion treated in a child?
Malocclusion is normally caused by a hereditary condition or by environmental factors such as nail biting, thumb sucking, or even how we eat or speak as children. But the condition can also be triggered much earlier, if there was a prolonged use of a feeding bottle or if the child used a dummy.
The truth is that malocclusion can be caused by many reasons or a mixture of things. In some cases, it is also possible to develop malocclusion after a jaw injury. Or even by seamlessly harmless habits such as chewing the end of the pen when we were bored in school. But even though it may be obvious, some parents may miss the symptoms of malocclusion in children. So what should you be looking for?
The most obvious sign that a child has malocclusion is, of course, the visible crooked or crowded teeth. But there may be other symptoms that will help you to identify if your child has developed malocclusion.
And while malocclusion can be seen, there are other underlying issues that your child may be experiencing that are a direct effect of malocclusion, which includes:
Malocclusions have genetic components that cannot be prevented; however, we can look at the parents to predict how a child's jaw and teeth will grow. This helps guide us in determining which treatment will be appropriate for the child.
A child's environment can, however, be prevented, and this is definitely the best treatment of malocclusion. For example, if they are under 9 years old and their habit is contributing to malocclusion, stopping these habits might lead to a spontaneous improvement in their condition. In general, when these habits are stopped early, they contribute less to a malocclusion condition.
The three main options for correcting malocclusion without surgery are Invisalign, braces, and cosmetic procedures. An underbite correction by surgery is generally only necessary if the bad bite is caused by a more severe skeletal problem.
It is common for your child's healthcare provider to diagnose malocclusion based on a thorough health chronology and physical examination. Your child will likely need an orthodontic evaluation and a course of treatment from an orthodontist. Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in treating irregularities in teeth, jaws, and bites.
An image of the internal tissue, bones, and teeth is obtained via X-rays. It is possible to evaluate the malocclusion by making plaster imprints of the teeth and putting them into a mould. There is no specific system for determining how much misalignment is too much. Your child's orthodontist will determine whether a bite adjustment is necessary as the best treatment of malocclusion.
There are three types of misaligned teeth, each with distinct characteristics.
Each of the three types of malocclusion may cause asymmetries in the jaw.
In addition to the severity of the condition, the best treatment of malocclusion for your child's treatment will depend on their symptoms, age, and general health. According to the severity of the condition, treatment is used to straighten the teeth, correct the bite, and improve the appearance of your child's smile. In some cases, phases of treatment are performed depending on the complexity of the malocclusion. These phases may include:
It may be necessary to remove your child's baby teeth in order to make space for permanent teeth. It is also possible to remove some permanent teeth as well.
In some cases, jaw surgery may be required to fix the bite problem when the bones are affected.
If your child is experiencing any signs of malocclusion, it's extremely important that you take action as soon as possible to avoid any more damage. Book now an appointment with Baker Pediatric Dentistry, to check your child's oral health, or to get answers to any questions that you may have about your child's health.