Are you worried that your kid may have a developing malocclusion (bad bite)?
Some signs of a developing malocclusion that parents can look out for:
- Protruding upper front teeth
- Crossbite (lower teeth bite in front of upper teeth)
- Underbite – lower teeth in front of upper teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Spaces between teeth
- Delayed shedding of milk teeth
- Delayed eruption of adult teeth especially if one side is delayed by more than 6 months
- Open bite (upper and lower front teeth not meeting)
- Deep bite (upper front teeth covering almost all of the lower front teeth)
- Disproportionate jaw growth e.g. longer lower jaw, retrusive middle face at the side of the nose, squashed look (short vertical face height), asymmetrical jaw, chin deviating to one side
- Habits such as finger-sucking or mouth breathing
- Poor management of caries
- Early extraction and premature loss of milk teeth
A healthy foundation for your child
It is not possible for most parents to detect these signs.
The American Association of Orthodontics strongly recommends that children should have an orthodontic assessment no later than the age of 7.
Early assessment allows us to provide the most appropriate treatment at the optimal time. Although most children below the age of 10 years do not require any early treatment, it is essential that those who do receive timely intervention and correction.
The idea: early Intervention helps to:
- Avoid the need for extraction of permanent teeth
- Reduce the risk of trauma to protruded upper front teeth
- Prevent major discrepancies in jaw growth and development
- Guide jaw growth to provide a balanced facial profile with growth modification
- Guide teeth to desirable positions
- Regulate the width of dental arches
- Reduce likelihood of impacted or buried permanent teeth
- Eliminate speech problems eg lisping
- Correct harmful oral habits eg thumb sucking
- Shorten treatment time for any future comprehensive orthodontic treatment later
The key difference between adult and children orthodontic treatment is our ability to modify and guide the dental development and jaw growth in the active growing years of children.
In adults, although we can still move teeth relatively easily, it is not possible to regulate the jaw structure.
At our practice, we often encounter two situations. One being overly anxious parents who will bring their child in when they notice a new permanent tooth, usually the lower front, erupting behind the baby tooth which unfortunately remained firm. Their concern is understandable. No parent will want to see the once well-aligned baby set of teeth starting to morph into an orthodontist’s nightmare. In this instance, we will take into consideration the child’s age, stage of dental development and dental compliance and recommend the necessary action.
On the other spectrum, some parents brought their kids in too late and literally “missed the boat”. Appropriate treatment could have been instituted when the child was younger so that the dental problem did not ballooned into something more detrimental to the child’s dental development and oral health. In this instance, we would have to resort to remedial measures to contain the problem.
we encourage parents to bring their children at age 7-8 for an early orthodontic evaluation. This will allow us to provide the most appropriate treatment at the optimal time. Treatment introduced at this stage is term “Interceptive Orthodontics”. Dental problems picked up can be corrected earlier to preserve dental health. In some cases, treatment will achieve better results when younger and for other dental problems, interceptive orthodontics can avoid lengthy and complicated correction later in life. However, if your child does not require any treatment, we will advise you on the timing of the next follow-up visit accordingly.