Have you noticed something different about your child’s teeth? Crooked teeth can lead to bite issues such as an underbite, but when cared for at an early age, you and your child can rely on early orthodontic treatment to correct this issue. Our team at Champlain Orthodontics is passionate about helping children be confident in their smiles and providing the resources you need to address any problems that may arise. Read on to learn more about how we can help!
What are Underbites?
If your child’s lower front teeth protrude past their upper front ones, they are likely suffering from an underbite. Underbites are a type of malocclusion that can cause issues such as jaw pain and speaking problems. They are commonly inherited, so if you or a close family member had one as a child, your child is more likely to have one as well. The shape and direction of your teeth are influenced not only by genetics but also by early childhood habits such as prolonged use of pacifiers and thumb-sucking.
What Happens If It’s Left Untreated?
If your child’s bite is left alone in hopes it will shift into place itself, this can have negative effects on their physical and mental health. The appearance of an underbite may lower your child’s self-esteem due to the different appearance of their mouth and smile. It may also cause issues with everyday functions such as chewing and eating. As mentioned, those with underbites can encounter jaw pain or speech issues due to the natural placement of their tongue.
When is the Best Time for Care?
When teeth remain misaligned, they require more involved or invasive procedures. The best time for care is when you first start to notice these issues in your child, or they begin to mention any of the side effects discussed above. Many patients begin treatment before traditional braces age to undergo early orthodontic treatment, allowing for more straightforward practices.
However, there is no age limit on when you can pursue care for your teeth. If you notice bite issues as an adult, we welcome you to be treated at Champlain Orthodontics! This complication is easy to diagnose once Dr. Ryan or Dr. Eaton sees you during your free consultation, allowing us to help you get started toward a solution immediately.
Beginning Early Orthodontic Treatment
To fix your child’s underbite, we provide the following care options: reverse-pull face masks, palatal expanders, and partial braces. Early orthodontic treatment typically begins around age seven, that is, when the American Association of Orthodontists recommends your child’s first appointment. These check-ups allow us to address issues before they become more severe.
Reverse-Pull Face Mask
The reverse-pull face mask shifts your child’s upper jaw forward while it is still malleable to align it with their lower jaw. It is similar to headgear in that it is a custom-fitted appliance that attaches to your upper teeth and is supported with an extension reaching your forehead. It is typically used for children whose lower jaw has grown faster than their upper.
The face mask is prescribed for 16 hours daily, so your child doesn’t need to worry about wearing the appliance to school or when out with friends. It is sometimes used with another appliance to reach ideal results in less time.
Children’s jaws can still be shifted at an early age, allowing Dr. Ryan and Dr. Eaton to rely on more straightforward treatment methods, such as palatal expanders, to solve underbite issues. This appliance expands the upper jaw and creates the proper amount of space for your child’s teeth to grow in.
They are crafted with two metal plates connected by a screw and placed on the upper back teeth. We provide each patient with a key used to push the metal plates further apart each day and allow your mouth to get used to the sensation over a long period of time to avoid discomfort.
Before your child is ready for traditional braces, partial braces can be placed on a few targeted teeth to solve underbite issues. They focus on a specific area of misalignment by spacing crowded teeth and tackling early bite problems. It ensures the permanent ones growing in have the right space, preventing further crowding. The braces apply slight, constant pressure to shift the teeth into their proper position.
Is Correcting Bite Issues Worth It?
With aligned teeth, your child can expect an easier time caring for their oral health each day. With hard-to-reach spots eliminated, they can have a beneficial long-term impact on their everyday health by brushing and flossing every area. Doing so protects them from bacteria, tooth decay and plaque buildup, each of which can lead to severe issues.
When your child experiences a bite issue like an underbite, they may experience discomfort when it comes to simple tasks like adequately chewing food. By helping them straighten their teeth, they are protected from potentially cracking or chipping a tooth as they will be better equipped to handle everyday pressures.
Chewing food into bite-sized pieces may seem inconsequential, but not doing so can cause poor digestion and nutrition, leading to uncomfortable side effects like stomachaches or heartburn. With the help of early orthodontic treatment, Dr. Ryan and Dr. Eaton can even help encourage your child to try new foods they may have previously avoided because of this.
Invest In Your Child’s Smile!
Champlain Orthodontics welcomes all patients to our office for a free consultation so we can help your child start their journey toward aligned teeth as soon as they are ready. We believe everyone deserves a beautiful and healthy smile. We provide Williston, St. Albans, and the surrounding communities with expert orthodontic services to make your child’s experience as comfortable as possible. We can’t wait to see you!