Treating malocclusion or bite problems in children

Malocclusion is the misalignment of teeth with each other or the way the upper and lower teeth fit together. Most people have some form of malocclusion, although it is usually not serious enough to require treatment.

Prevent severe malocclusion by treating it in childhood.

In the case of children, there are signs that should prompt a visit to a specialist. The most frequent are that the upper teeth do not occlude with the lower teeth, that is, that there is a gap between the upper and lower teeth (open bite) or that the upper teeth occlude inside the lower teeth (crossbite). In the most severe cases, the child’s chin may be observed to be either very pronounced or very receding.

If no action is taken, infantile malocclusion can lead to malocclusion at the end of growth, which would require more complex treatments and, even in more severe cases, the need for surgical intervention to reposition the jaws, also called orthognathic surgery.

Although it is not always possible to prevent malocclusion, there are certain habits that must be eliminated in order to try to correct it, such as pacifiers, thumb sucking or chewing on objects, among others. Adenoids or vegetations that force to breathe through the mouth are another frequent cause that may need to be corrected.

Treatment of malocclusion in children

It is recommended that the first check-up by the specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery be made at around two years of age, in order to detect the lack of eruption of any tooth, early cavities and dental malocclusions that begin to become visible after 24 months of age. After the first visit, periodic check-ups should be performed every six months.

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In their first years of life, children have the so-called primary dentition, commonly known as milk teeth. In this phase, the elimination of harmful habits before the age of three is sufficient to correct most malocclusions. Once the child has begun to change teeth, if the malocclusion persists, removable appliances (removable) would be placed to correct the problems by taking advantage of growth. However, once the final dentition has been reached, most dental malocclusions are resolved by the application of fixed appliance orthodontics.