HEALTH: Early treatment is key for deformed jaws and crooked teeth


By Dr. Matthew Weekes
November 20th, 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.


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