Common Orthodontic Problems an Adolescent May Face


Dr. Michael Stosich, orthodontist, explains common orthodontic issues young patients may face.

Has your dentist recently recommended that you schedule an orthodontic consultation for your child? Or, is your child past the age of seven and hasn’t yet seen an orthodontist? If so, you may have questions about what might cause your child to need orthodontic treatment.

“We recommend that children seen an orthodontist by the age of seven,” says Dr. Michael Stosich. “This is the ideal time for an orthodontic consultation because the child will most likely have a mix of baby and permanent teeth, and we can start to see how the future smile might emerge.”

But what exactly is the orthodontist looking for?

Malocclusion is the term given to orthodontic abnormalities that might result in the need for braces. The most common issue orthodontists see is crowding. This occurs when there just isn’t enough room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth. If it isn’t corrected at the right time, the teeth can grow in over each other, leading to overlapping.

Other malocclusions an orthodontist looks for include:

  • Underbite – If your child’s lower jaw outgrows the upper jaw, he may have an underbite. The lower teeth will protrude over the top teeth in an underbite.
  • Overbite – If your child’s top teeth cover an excessive amount of the lower teeth, an overbite might be indicated. This can lead to the teeth wearing down, and in a severe overbite, the bottom teeth might actually bite into the gums in the roof of the mouth.
  • Spacing – If your child is missing teeth, or has very small teeth or a wide dental arch, there may be abnormal spacing.
  • Crossbite – If your child’s front or back upper teeth can fit inside the lower front or back teeth, it’s called a crossbite.
  • Overjet – If your child’s teeth protrude too far out, or the lower teeth don’t extend far enough, it’s an overjet. This can be the result of either uneven jaw growth, or extended thumb sucking.
  • Open bite – If your child’s front teeth don’t touch when the back teeth are touching, it’s called an open bite. This is most often caused by thumb sucking and other bad oral habits. An open bite can lead to chewing and speech problems.

“If your child indicates any of these issues, it’s important to schedule a consultation with a certified orthodontist,” says Dr. Stosich. “While a dentist may be able to recognize signs of a malocclusion, only a trained orthodontist will have the knowledge and skill to properly correct it.”

At your child’s first consultation, the orthodontist will conduct a thorough exam to determine what the problem may be, and if treatment will be needed. X-rays and photos will be taken, and the orthodontist will perform a physical examination. From there, the orthodontist will determine the best course of treatment to correct the issue.

“While you may commonly picture a teenager with a mouth full of braces, it’s important to have your child examined by an orthodontist around the seventh birthday,” says Dr. Stosich. “Your child may not need treatment then, but we can monitor growth and begin treatment at the right time to ensure the best results. Sometimes, beginning treatment earlier can shorten later treatment or prevent the need for it altogether.”

If your child is past the age of seven and hasn’t had an orthodontic consultation yet, or if he or she exhibits any of the signs above, call as soon as possible to schedule a consultation with a certified orthodontist. Correcting the issue as soon as possible may be able to save you time, money and future headaches. Call Dr. Stosich at iDentity Orthodontics today at 847-548-4200.

dr-michael-stosich-2About Dr. Michael Stosich:

Dr. Stosich is a highly experienced and exceptionally trained orthodontist serving patients throughout the Kenilworth and Grayslake area. His credentials are nearly twice that of other orthodontists because he takes his field seriously and is committed to providing only the best in care to his patients. In addition to treating patients in his office, Dr. Stosich also serves as the director of orthodontics at the University of Chicago hospital team for craniofacial, sleep apnea and cleft palate patients. Dr. Stosich has studied orthodontics extensively, having received an endowed grant from the National Institute of Health, and is committed to offering patients advanced smile design techniques.

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