A child will normally start to lose their primary (baby) teeth, and gain their permanent set of teeth when approaching the age of 6. When this all goes according to plan, the front teeth will erupt in the correct position. Specifically, the top teeth will be slightly overlapping the lower teeth and will be coming in straight without crowding.
However, there are cases where this does not happen the way it’s supposed to. In these situations, a child can develop a bad bite (malocclusion). Don’t panic. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, all children should be seen by an orthodontist by the age of 7. Below are some of the issues that an orthodontist will check your children for during a standard evaluation.
Normal, healthy teeth should not have any noticeable gaps between them after all the four front teeth erupt, and should essentially be right next to each other. However, if there is noticeable space between the permanent teeth (particularly permanent front teeth), this could be a sign of impacted teeth or other bite problems. On the other hand, if there seems to be overlapping of teeth on the upper or lower, this could be an indication of crowding. This occurs in instances where there is insufficient space for the teeth to properly erupt.
There are a number of different types of malocclusions. For example: in the case of an underbite, the front bottom teeth will typically bite in front of the upper teeth. Then there is what’s called an “open bite,” which involves the presence of a significant gap between the lower and upper teeth when the jaws are closed. A deep bite is defined by the sight of front teeth biting down too far over lower teeth and sometimes can result in biting into the upper palate’s soft tissue. Lastly, crossbites can be found in either the back teeth or the front. If they appear in the back, several of the lower teeth will bite outside the upper teeth, rather than biting inside the upper teeth. If they appear in the front, a number of the lower teeth will bite in front of the upper.
Atypical Growth Patterns and Tooth Eruptions
It’s also important to be on the lookout for poor jaw growth patterns. Protrusion of the upper jaw occurs when the upper jaw is too far forward in relation to the lower jaw. This often occurs as a result of thumb sucking and finger habits. Conversely, protrusion of the lower jaw can also be an issue. These are signified by the appearance of the lower teeth or jaw overlapping the upper jaw resulting in a very strong lower jaw appearance.
Lastly, it’s important to be sure that permanent teeth are erupting in the correct locations. If the primary teeth were not in the right order, in the incorrect position, or if they were lost prematurely, this can contribute to the likelihood of other permanent teeth erupting where they shouldn’t. If you have a child who is 7 or older, why not contact our office today for a complimentary screening with Affiliated Orthodontics today?