Why Malocclusion is Common in Children

Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment

Crooked or crowded teeth are quite common among children. The condition is called malocclusion. It presents as the teeth of the upper jaw that don’t meet normally with the teeth of the lower jaw when the jaw is closed. There is a problem with the bite of the child. There are many causes for malocclusion; it can be genetic or can be environmental, such as trauma to the jaw. Malocclusion can develop as a child grows.

Certain risk factors can lead to this condition. For example, children who suck their thumbs or fingers beyond the age of 5 are at greater risk. If they were born with small jaws, there will not be enough space and hence, the overcrowding or overlapping of the permanent teeth when they start coming in, permanent teeth being larger and needing more space.

How will you know that your child has malocclusion? You will notice the upper front teeth sticking out over the lower teeth. It’s called an overbite. Vice versa is an underbite. If the front teeth don’t meet when the jaw is closed, it’s an open bite. A crossbite is when the top teeth sit behind the bottom teeth.

A child with malocclusion faces potential problems if not addressed as soon as possible. There can be problems eating or speaking, early or late loss of baby teeth that can lead to malpositioning of permanent teeth, teeth grinding, mouth breathing, tooth decay, gum disease, and sometimes Jaw joint problems. X-rays and impressions of the teeth can help diagnose malocclusion.

The treatment goal is to straighten the teeth and improve their appearance which is done in stages. Tooth removal may be necessary to give way to permanent teeth and if necessary, permanents can also be extracted. The orthodontic treatment plan will also include braces, wires and retainers subject to timed fittings and adjustments over a period of time. In some cases and if so necessary, the child will undergo jaw surgery to fix the bite problem when the bones are involved.

Straightening Crooked Teeth in West Seattle

If you’ve noticed malocclusion in your child, know it can lead to potential oral issues that can jeopardize even the child’s overall health. Visit us for consultation and treatment. Do not ignore malocclusion.