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Children’s Bite Development: 8 Things Parents Should Know

By March 27, 2024Blog, Orthodontics

Your kid’s smile— it brightens your day every time. But what if your kid’s teeth and jaw aren’t developing well? It makes sense to be concerned. After all, the healthy development of your child’s bite is crucial for their oral health and overall well-being. A well-aligned jaw helps with proper chewing and speaking, can help alleviate jaw pain or teeth grinding, reduce the risk of tooth decay, help them breathe better, and give your child a boost in confidence.

Want to know more? As your Surrey and Langley orthodontist, the team at Aura Orthodontics
offers eight things you should know about bite development so you can take steps to ensure it’s on track.

1. Bite Problems in Kids Can Impact Their Health

Jaw misalignment in a crossbite, overbite, underbite, or open bite are not just cosmetic issues, they can affect your child’s quality of life and create problems such as:

  • Difficulties with chewing which can impact nutrition
  • Pronunciation and speech problems
  • Obstructed breathing
  • TMJ or jaw pain
  • Teeth grinding, also called “bruxism”
  • Feeling self conscious about the look of their smile

2. Early Orthodontics Can Guide Teeth and Jaw Development

An early orthodontic evaluation by age seven is recommended by the American Assocation of Orthodontists. Why? Though it may seem early, this is an age when your kids have a mix of baby and adult teeth and their jaw shape is established; at this point, a certified specialist in orthodontics like Dr. Sharma, Dr. Lin, or Dr. Koo can spot existing or potential bite problems. They can then recommend early orthodontics if needed.

Early orthodontics, also called Phase 1 orthodontics, is for kids between ages 6-10, and is for guiding jaw development and tooth alignment at a time when your child is still growing. It can make orthodontics in the teen years easier or sometimes even eliminate the need for it by then.

3. Snoring in Kids – A Sign to Watch For

While snoring in kids might seem harmless, it can sometimes indicate a restricted airway or sleep disordered breathing — an issue that can have an impact on your kids’ overall development and day-to-day health. Orthodontic issues can contribute to airway problems and if your child is snoring, the team at Aura Orthodontics can assess whether there’s a connection between your child’s snoring and their bite development. Since the palate (the roof of the mouth) is also the floor of the nose, breathing and the oral system have a close relationship. A bite issue like an overbite or underbite can narrow the airway, increasing the obstruction of the throat tissues when they relax during sleep and cause snoring.

4. Mouth Breathing That Leads to Bite Problems in Kids

Physical nasal obstructions like large adenoids or swollen turbinates can make it hard for a child to breathe completely or properly through their nose. As a result, they might from a mouth breathing habit to ensure they get the air they need. Unfortunately, chronic mouth breathing can affect your child’s teeth and jaw development, contributing to bite issues like an underbite or overbite.

5. Crowded Baby Teeth Can Affect Incoming Adult Teeth

Are crowded baby teeth a cause for concern? It depends. Slightly crowded baby teeth that still leave enough space for their adult counterparts to erupt aren’t typically in issue. However, crowded baby teeth that block adult teeth can cause them to come in crooked, which is a concern. The best plan of action is to get an early orthodontic assessment by a certified specialist in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who will look at your kid’s teeth, jaw development, and facial structure as a whole.

6. Kids’ Teeth and Jaw Monitoring Helps With Timely Intervention

So your young child has had an early assessment at Aura Orthodontics and we’ve found that Phase 1 orthodontics isn’t needed at this time — but this isn’t necessarily goodbye! Once you’ve come in to see us, we typically recommend monitoring your kid’s oral development as they grow so we can intervene at the best time with early orthodontics or let you know when it’s the best time for Phase 2 orthodontics like braces or Invisalign® Teen if needed.

7. Prolonged Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Can Create Misalignment

Beyond the age of three, habitual thumb sucking or pacifier can lead to teeth and bite issues like an open bite or overbite, flared front teeth, and changes to the shape of your child’s palate. That’s why it’s important to discourage prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use. If you’ve been having difficulty getting your child to grow out of the habit, your Fraser Valley orthodontist for kids can help. Treatment like a habit-breaking appliance blocks the thumbs or fingers from coming into contact with the palate and the backs of the front teeth, allowing your child’s jaw and teeth a chance to develop properly.

8. Regular Dental Check-Ups and Orthodontic Visits Help You Stay In-the-Know

In addition to good oral hygiene at home and regular check-ups with your pediatric dentist, seeing an orthodontist early helps you stay on track with your kids’ bite and jaw development. Early detection and treatment of bite problems in kids makes braces or Invisalign in the teen years simpler and faster — or even mean your kid can skip that rite of passage altogether.

Making Good Choices for Your Kid’s Smile

Your kids’ teeth and jaw development play a big part in their smile. Early detection of bite problems paired with early orthodontics can guide development towards healthy oral functioning and an improvement in aesthetics. Big picture impact? It can then enhance your child’s life now as well as help set them up for dental success as an adult.

Get the ball rolling by scheduling an early appointment with your Surrey and Fraser Valley orthodontist for kids at our Scottsdale, Guildford, or Langley office. Our bright and modern offices, high-tech approach, and friendly care make the orthodontic experience an enjoyable one.

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