Your child’s smile is invaluable and it’s important to make sure it can be allowed to shine! However, if you notice your child’s smile looks a bit off with crooked teeth or uneven jaws, it might be time for a checkup. Your child may have a condition known as Malocclusion, commonly referred to as bad bites.
At Woodbridge Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics, a reputable children’s dentist in Vaughan, we take pride in making sure your child’s smile looks its best. Our team of dental care professionals will give your child’s mouth a thorough checkup to make sure everything is in order and no potential dental issues crop up in the future.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Malocclusion in children.
Overview of Malocclusion
Malocclusion, otherwise known as bad bite, is a misalignment in the way teeth come together that can potentially lead to other serious oral health problems. Normally, the upper teeth should extend just slightly past the lower teeth with the molars fitting together seamlessly.
When your child’s teeth are misaligned, it can result in improper biting of the cheeks, lips and tongue as well as issues chewing food and possibly even lisps.
There are three types of Malocclusion:
- Class 1 Malocclusion: the bite is standard, but the upper teeth marginally overlap the lower ones. This is the most common form.
- Class 2 Malocclusion: Often called overbite, it happens when the upper jaw overlaps the bottom jaw.
- Class 3 Malocclusion: Otherwise known as an underbite, it happens when the lower jaw juts out, resulting in the lower jaw overlapping the upper jaw and teeth.
Causes of a Bad Bite
One of the most common causes of Malocclusion is genetics. This condition is usually passed down through generations of families. However, other bad habits in early childhood can also lead to Malocclusion, including thumb sucking, overuse of a pacifier after age 3, prolonged bottle use and tongue thrusting.
How Can I Spot Malocclusion?
Symptoms of possible Malocclusion in your child can include:
- Difficulty biting into food correctly
- Atypical appearance of the face in the mouth area
- Irregular alignment or crowding of teeth
- Discomfort/pain when biting or chewing
- Speech impediments
- Mouth breathing (breathing through the mouth without closing the lips)
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is advisable to check with your dental professional as soon as possible. Malocclusion can generally be detected by a dentist during a standard checkup.
What Can Be Done About My Child’s Bad Bite?
While some bad bites are very minor and do not call for treatment, some cases can be overlooked and will develop into greater dental problems if left unchecked. We recommend seeking the advice of a skilled orthodontist if your child or teen is experiencing tooth pain, jaw aches, or developing any other symptoms of Malocclusion.
Some potential treatments may involve:
- Braces or a similar apparatus: These are used to apply pressure to the teeth to move them into proper positioning.
- Extraction of one or more teeth: This may be necessary to correct overcrowding if it’s the issue.
- Repairing rough/irregular tooth structure: Teeth may be readjusted, reshaped, and bonded or capped. Misshapen restorations and dental tools should be addressed.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery is needed to reshape (lengthen or shorten) the jaw.
It’s Important to Correct Your Child’s Bad Bite as Early as Possible
Woodbridge Kids Dentistry is a complete specialty pediatric dental care center. We are committed to providing dental care, promoting good oral health, and helping shape your child’s bright smile with our specialized dental treatments. Call us today at (905) 264-1543 and get your child’s bite fixed as soon as possible!
Please note: This article is intended only to provide general knowledge about oral health and is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner about the treatment of medical conditions.