Identitication of the problems related to a child’s dentition is never an easy task for parents. Most dental problems usually go unnoticed till the child starts complaining of pain or discomfort. But by then, the problem would most probably have become so advanced that it may require elaborate treatment protocols.
In many cases, orthodontic problems are even more difficult to detect, as they normally do not cause any pain or discomfort and hence, the child seldom complains, unless he I she is being teased by his / her friends for having awkward looking teeth.
Many a time, parents tend to overlook these problems believing that they will correct themselves with time. In the meantime, the malocclusion will keep worsening, predisposing the child to traumatic injury to his / her teeth and face. It also causes undesirable psychological trauma to the child. So, it is important to ‘set right’ the malocclusion in children in the early stages itself.
The time and sequence of the eruption of milk teeth, their subsequent loss, and the eruption of their permanent successors are required to be carefully monitored. Most malocclusions occur as a result of deviations from the normal time and sequence of tooth eruption and loss.
Dental decay, if left untreated, often leads to early loss of milk / permanent teeth. This may lead to the loss of space in the dental arch, resulting in crowding and irregular arrangement of teeth. So never underestimate the presence of the black spots on your child‘s teeth. as it can have far-reaching consequences.
Certain abnomial habits in childhood like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and tongue thrusting. when practiced for a long period, can contribute to malocclusion of varying severities. But all these habits can be broken with timely intervention using suitable Orthodontic Appliances. Along with this, the developing malocclusion can also be effectively intercepted.
Another important causative factor for malocclusion is recurrent Upper Respiratory Tract Infection. which commonly manifests as cough and cold. Recurrent Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI) causes perennial blockage of a child’s nose and at times, it can also lead to the enlargement of adenoid glands. This forces the child to breathe through the mouth, instead of the nose, altering the resting position of the jaw and result in malocclusion.
The genes, which we pass on to our children, can at times become a reason for developmental deformity. Research has shown that certain malocclusions show strong genetic predisposition. 50. if either of the parents or sibling is afflicted with malocclusion, it becomes all the more important to intervene it at the right time.
Harmonious growth of the upper and lower jaws, along with the harmony between jaw and tooth size is an important determinant for the development of normal occlusion. So, if you find that your child’s jaws and teeth are out of proportion, it is time to consult an Orthodontist.
In addition to these factors, the obvious problems like crowding of teeth, spaces between teeth, improper bite, difficulty in chewing / biting or pronouncing certain syllables, pain and discomfort near the ear / temporomandibular joint (T MI) are all pointers for malocclusion.
Fortunately. today, the specialty of ‘Orthodontia’ is sufficiently advanced that most of these problems can be corrected with timely interception.
However as always, ‘time is of the essence’. Timely identification of the problems, along with necessary interceptive interventions can nip them in the bud. Therefore, it is recommended that you take your child for regular dental check-ups. A child’s hrst orthodontic consultation should be not later than 7 years of age. A little bit of your time and effort today for your child will go a long way in helping your child wear a smile all through his I her life.