While most orthodontic problems are not life threatening, there are some early warning signs that indicate your child might need to see an orthodontist even if they still have the majority of their baby teeth.
These are the top 5 that warrant a visit before the problem becomes worse:
1. A persistent thumb, finger or tongue habit
While thumb sucking may help a child sleep better, by the time they go to Kindergarten, those habits should have been eliminated.
If left untreated, they could cause the teeth to be pushed out too far and the jaws to grow in the wrong direction. Furthermore, speech problems and eating difficulties are quite common in children with these persistent habits.
2. Upper teeth that are behind the lower teeth (also called an underbite)
This is a very severe problem that should be treated at a young age while the child is still growing. The upper jaw, in these cases, is not growing at the same rate as the lower jaw.
Often, these problems, if left until the teenage years, will result in extensive orthodontic work and even jaw surgery to fully correct.
3. Teeth that protrude too far
This problem is often related to a thumb or finger habit, but can also be growth related. The lower jaw is not growing at the same rate as the upper jaw. The biggest problem in children with severely protruding teeth is that they can fall and break or crack a tooth, which will result in extensive dental work for the rest of their lives. It can also cause extreme wear on their back teeth and, later in life, jaw problems.
4. Not enough room for the adult teeth to come in
This is a common problem that we see daily. Often, the parent tells us their child lost baby teeth months ago and become worried with no adult teeth in sight.
Most of the time, it’s a problem with crowding (i.e. the jaw is too small and narrow). Early intervention with expansion-type appliances can make room without the need for extractions.
5. Mouth breathing, snoring, teeth grinding
All of these can be associated with a bad bite, narrow arches, crowding and your child’s habits. Early intervention can provide a solution to help children breathe better and sleep better, too. Studies show that children who don’t sleep well at night often have problems focusing at school and have excessive daytime sleepiness.
To learn more about how Phase One orthodontics can help you and your children, browse our website or call us at 916-435-8000.