By Dr. Matthew Weekes
September 11th, 2013 Edition
Parents get alarmed when they start to notice that their toddlers are developing crowded teeth. The front teeth may protrude produc- ing a “Bugs Bunny” profile or teeth may erupt in abnormal positions looking like fangs.
These children often have narrow jaws, re- duced airway space, difficulty breathing as a result of airway obstructions, such as en- larged tonsils. Snoring may be a symptom. The jaw joints may also be affected in cas- es of deep overbites or under bites causing headaches, neck pain, dizziness, earaches, or clicking in the jaws. Speech problems can also develop.
Many of these children may have low self- esteem, since they are often self-conscious about the unsightly appearance of their teeth; and may endure teasing at school.
Early treatment is the key. Although crooked teeth can be corrected at any age, jaw defor- mities are best corrected early.
Functional appliances can help correct un- derdeveloped jaws, narrow arches, crowded teeth, deep overbites, thumb sucking and joint problems. Children cooperate best be- tween the ages of 8 to 11.
Most children over the age of 12 with the above conditions will require Orthodontic treatment (Braces) but the treatment would be shorter if they were wearing functional appliances earlier.