One of the issues we frequently encounter as we partner with parents and families in dental care is anterior crossbite — a situation that occurs when one or more of the top teeth sit behind the bottom teeth as a child bites down.
In most cases, anterior crossbite is caused by the over-retention of baby teeth. Oftentimes, children are afraid and unwilling to wiggle a loose baby tooth free. In the meantime, the permanent tooth starts to grow in from behind, becoming trapped by the tooth on the bottom.
Although not life threatening, an anterior crossbite can impact overall function of the mouth and jaw and lead to dental hygiene issues because your child may be unable to reach the area well when brushing. The benefit of visiting your pediatric dentist regularly is that we are trained to see issues, like anterior crossbite, as they begin to develop and can intercede before they evolve into circumstances that require far greater expense and time.
USING INTERCEPTIVE ORTHODONTICS
This is a photo of a 10-year-old girl with a unilateral anterior crossbite (one side on the front). Because we caught it early during routine dental visits, we were able to correct the issue inexpensively in just six months, using braces (aka interceptive orthodontics) on only her four front teeth.
If we hadn’t proactively addressed the issue when we did, she was bound for full orthodontia. Now, full braces are an option rather than a necessity and actually may not even be needed. In addition, this bubbly, happy little girl can go to school feeling confident – no longer worrying that the other children will make fun of her.
USING DENTAL APPLIANCES
This is a photo of an 8-year-old girl. We were able to correct her bilateral anterior crossbite (both sides on the front) in just 8 months using a retainer. A retainer (aka dental appliance) is an equally effective approach to correcting crossbite, but the process can sometimes take longer than interceptive orthodontics (braces) because the teeth are not being moved 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Also, a retainer requires a bit more involvement from parents, who must make sure that the child remembers to wear it at all times for the treatment to succeed.
She ended up needing braces later, once all of her permanent teeth came in, because of crowding on the bottom. But in the meantime, she could feel good about herself and her smile. Plus, the time she spent in full braces was shorter because less work needed to be done.
CREATING BEAUTIFUL, CONFIDENT SMILES
Everyone is very concerned about appearance these days. You don’t see kids with crooked or decaying teeth in advertisements on TV or in magazines. Straight, white teeth have become the standard, and people—even kids—expect to see beautiful smiles.
When a child has stained teeth or teeth out of alignment, other kids are sometimes very cruel. They latch onto that difference and make comments that can seriously undermine a child’s confidence.
At Dentistry for Children, we wish to make an impact on the lives of children by providing care in a fun but professional manner so that kids can grow up with beautiful smiles and without fear of their dentist. Helping kids get and stay on track with oral hygiene is our greatest joy and accomplishment.
If your family is in need of a partner in dental care, please contact us. You can learn more about my partner Mitch and I here. For more information about our dental practice and staff, please read some of these other blog entries.