Modern orthodontics is more than what it used to be.
Once primarily about straightening teeth, today’s orthodontists can help correct underlying skeletal problems of the mouth and jaw as well, according to Mattel Children’s Hospital at the University of California.
Your child should first see an orthodontist when he or she is 7 years old, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. Even though your child may have few permanent teeth at that age, the orthodontist can assess the development of his jaw. This will allow for early identification and correction of potential orthodontic problems.
Underlying skeletal issues can result in:
* Underbite, when the top teeth fall behind the bottom teeth when together.
* Overbite, when the top teeth protrude far ahead of the lower teeth.
* Crossbite, when the upper jaw is too narrow, causing the child to bite down with his upper teeth inside his lower teeth.
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD