Malocclusion is when a child’s teeth become crooked or crowded. The child may also have a problem with his or her bite. That means the teeth of the upper jaw don’t meet normally with the teeth of the lower jaw when the jaw is closed.
A child with malocclusion has crowded or crooked teeth. He or she may also have one of these bite problems:
Malocclusion may cause a child to have:
Your child’s healthcare provider can often diagnose malocclusion with a complete health history and physical exam of your child. He or she will likely refer your child to a dentist or an orthodontist for full evaluation and treatment. Orthodontists are specially trained dentists. They treat the irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws.
Your child may also need:
There is no specific system to say how much misalignment is too much. Your child’s orthodontist will decide if your child’s bite needs to be fixed.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The goal of treatment is to straighten the teeth and improve the look of your child’s smile. Treatment is sometimes done in phases depending on the extent of the malocclusion. It may include:
If your child needs a mouth appliance, he or she may need to restrict some activities. Discuss this with your child’s dentist or orthodontist. Your child should not eat the following foods while wearing any type of mouth appliance:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
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