As your child's jaw grows and adult teeth replace baby teeth, you may notice a slight change in his or her smile. The difference is often related to the way the bite develops, as it is possible to develop misalignments. There are four different types of bite disorders that often develop throughout childhood: cross, open, under and over bites. Without early intervention to correct the developing misalignment, it is possible that your child might require surgical correction in the future. In an attempt to avoid surgery, orthodontists usually recommend the three following methods to retrain the jaw and fix the misalignments.
Play the Clarinet
Holding a correct mouth position can help position the jaw in a correct alignment as it grows. Unfortunately, without a corrective device, the insurmountable effort required to physically hold that position is unrealistic. Your child's orthodontist may recommend enrolling your child in clarinet classes to mitigate the jaw's tendency to develop a severe misalignment. Over time, the way clarinet players have to hold their mouth to create the right notes can potentially have a therapeutic effect on jaw alignment. Since this treatment does not have any real drawbacks and since it allows your child to learn a new skill, it is a good starting point for bite correction.
If your child's orthodontist notices jaw growth issues as major adult teeth are replacing baby teeth, it may be possible to train the teeth to reduce the potential for misalignment. The least invasive way to train the teeth as they are coming in is by biting down on a vertically aligned popsicle stick. The end of the popsicle stick should remain behind the teeth that are coming in to gently leverage them into place. Ten minute sessions once a day often has a therapeutic effect. The orthodontist will evaluate the jaw position once the teeth fully grow in to see how to proceed.
Speaking With An Orthodontist
If relatively non-invasive methods do not correct your child's bite alignment issues, you may need to discuss the use of dental appliances and surgical correction with an orthodontist. Without repairing the bite, your child could have lifelong issues chewing and talking. Jaw misalignments also cause excessive wear on the teeth, mouth breathing and sleep apnea. Since a misaligned bite often changes the shape of the face and smile, your child's confidence levels could plummet. You will need to discuss the risks and benefits with the orthodontist to make a treatment decision with your child's best interests in mind. Contact an orthodontist from a company like Smiley Kids Dental to talk about treatment options for your child's bite.