How to save your Child from 7 types of Bite problems

Common bite problems in childerns

Occlusion is defined as the way the upper and lower teeth fit together. Therefore, a problem of teeth misalignment is also known as malocclusion. If your child has a bite problem, it will become noticeable only after six – because that’s when children lose their baby teeth and gain permanent teeth. Usually, the front teeth should fit snugly over the lower teeth with a bit of an overlap. But such may not be the case with children who have bite issues.

Problems of teeth misalignment are not just cosmetic. A bad bite may result in tooth decay, gum diseases, and tooth damage. As a parent or guardian, it is essential to know about bite problems and look for the signs early on. It can help your child avoid problems related to bite misalignment. Here is a look at seven common bite problems; if you see any of these in your child, take them to an orthodontist for an evaluation.

  1. Overbite – An overbite is when the upper teeth cover some or all of the lower teeth. The usual causes of an overbite include frequent use of baby soothers, bottles, using certain feeding utensils, and excessive consumption of processed foods. If an overbite is left untreated, it exposes your child to tooth decay, gum diseases, and early enamel loss.
  2. Underbite – Even though most parents know about overbites, they are usually unaware of what is an underbite. Underbite occurs when the lower teeth protrude over the upper teeth covering them wholly or partially. It can stress the jaw joints, give the face a ‘bull-dog’ appearance, and wear the teeth out prematurely. Underbites are less common than overbites but may cause serious dental issues if left untreated.
  3. Crossbite – A crossbite is a genetic condition wherein one or more of the upper teeth are bent inwards and sit inside the lower teeth. Crossbites are rare but may cause severe discomfort in opening and closing the mouth. A crossbite may have lasting consequences such as speech defects, chewing difficulties, and cheek biting. If your child may have a crossbite, visit your orthodontist immediately.
  4. Open Snack – Also known as an anterior open bite, it happens when the upper and lower teeth align towards the back of the mouth but not in the front. The causes of an open snack could be excessive thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing. It can result in problems with swallowing and speech issues.
  5. Crowding – Sometimes, teeth have insufficient space to grow in the child’s jaw and start to crowd the mouth. Crowding, if ignored, may cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum diseases. It leads to an anaesthetic appearance of the mouth, and can be treated by removing a tooth to make space for the others, or it may be treated with braces, or both.
  6. Spacing – If your child’s teeth are placed too far apart, it is a spacing problem. It happens due to the small size of teeth or a larger size of the jaw. If spacing does not correct itself naturally, it can cause gum diseases in adult life. Get your child’s teeth evaluated by an orthodontist to find the best treatment course that suits your child.
  7. Protrusion – Protrusion is a problem that occurs when the lower jaw is too far back or if teeth grow in at an angle or a combination of these two conditions. It increases the risk of tooth injury, causes discomfort in closing the mouth and lips, and dries out the oral tissues, just like in an overbite.

How bite abnormalities harm your child

There can be different consequences of bite abnormalities depending on the nature and severity of the condition. But, if left untreated, jaw alignment issues can cause some or all of the below problems for your child –

  • Increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease
  • Bite problems are painful
  • Prevent or delay normal speech development
  • Stop your child from eating nutritious food as it inhibits proper chewing
  • Distorts the facial shape
  • Low self-confidence and low self-esteem

Detecting bite issues early on and availing the best possible treatment can help your children avoid a lifetime of dental or oral problems. The best thing to do is to make yourself aware of the different types of bites and keep an eye on your child’s dental development. If your child may develop any of the above-listed bite problems, consult an orthodontist today.

About the Author  

Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League-trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile makes a person look great and feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Brite Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about orthodontics, the importance of correctly aligned teeth, and good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with his family.

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