Common Issues During a Pediatric Orthodontic Evaluation

When most people hear of orthodontic treatments, they assume these are cosmetic approaches meant to straighten teeth and guarantee exceptional smiles. This, however, is only part of the effects of orthodontic treatments. Straightening the teeth in kids and adults boosts the optimal cleaning of teeth and reduces a strain on the jaws.

It also contributes to a patient’s nutritional status because it eases the chewing of food. Orthodontic evaluations are done by a pediatric dentist based in Murray when your child is about seven years old. This is because, at about six years, most kids get their first molars, and permanent dentition begins.

The developmental markers around this age make it the ideal time to conduct an orthodontic evaluation and pick issues that might affect your child’s permanent dentition. Here are the common elements that a dentist considers during an orthodontic evaluation.

Severe Crossbites

Here, the lower teeth will envelop the upper jaw when someone closes his/her mouth. Crossbites often cause wearing dental surfaces because the teeth will continually rub on each other, even with no jaw movement. Moreover, the jaw is strained, and your child might complain of unexplained ear and headaches.

The ideal treatment approach for these is a palatal expander. This increases the size of your lower jaw such that it is at the same level as the upper one.

Severe Crowding

Some kids have small jaws that cannot fit all their permanent teeth. This causes the crowding and misalignment of permanent teeth. In an orthodontic evaluation, the dentist considers the size of the jaws vis-a-vis the size of tooth sockets. This way, he/she gets a general idea of whether or not the child’s teeth will fit into his or her jaw.

When picked early, a palatal expander can be used to increase the available space for permanent dentition. This negates the need for tooth extraction and lengthy brace treatments in the future to correct crowded teeth.

Protruding Teeth

At times, the teeth in the upper jaw might protrude beyond the lower ones. Protruding teeth are also called buck teeth. Though often hereditary, buck teeth can also follow prolonged habits like tongue-thrusting, use of a pacifier, and thumb sucking.

Without intervention, buck teeth affect a child’s breathing and speech and cause pain when chewing and biting, and an altered facial appearance. Treatment of protruding teeth includes the use of braces and palatal expanders or surgery in severe cases.

Ectopic Teeth

These are teeth that will develop outside the spot on the gums where they should be. Ectopic teeth are generally associated with trauma, extra teeth, over-retention of milk teeth, and cleft palates. The teeth might erupt in the gums just next to the cheeks, under the lips, or even in the palate.

In most cases, dentists will extract the ectopic tooth then use a retainer to guide the others into the right alignment.

With a risk of the above issues, you cannot afford to ignore an orthodontic evaluation for your child. The problems might, however, not all need immediate treatment. The dentist might recommend waiting until your child is over 12 years to intervene.