Learn about the 8 common orthodontic issues in children and when to seek professional care

Orthodontics issues occur due to the misalignment between both sets of jaws or teeth. This misalignment is known as malocclusions. Untreated malocclusions result in speech difficulty, wear and tear of the enamel, and cause permanent damage to the teeth and jaw joints.

Orthodontics issues start from a young age, as soon as a child’s permanent teeth start to erupt. Early detection and intervention can save your child from discomfort and complex dental issues in adulthood. As a parent, watch out for these eight most common orthodontics issues in children.


  • Crossbite is a type of malocclusion in which the lower set of teeth protrude outside, and the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth when the mouth is closed. An anterior crossbite occurs when the front teeth of the lower jaw, i.e., the incisors and canine, protrude outside. In comparison, a posterior crossbite occurs when the back teeth, i.e., the molars and premolars, don’t align with the top jaw.

Crossbite can cause considerable discomfort. To negate the discomfort, children tend to shift their jaw to one side. This can cause lasting changes in the placement of the teeth, facial structure, jaw joints, etc.

  • Depending upon the severity of the condition and the number of teeth affected by the malocclusion, orthodontists recommend the use of dental braces. Braces can rectify the misalignment by slowly shifting the teeth to their original position.


  • It is a condition that is characterized by the lack of space to accommodate all teeth within the jaws, resulting in being twisted or displaced. Crowding happens when the jaw size is not proportionate to the teeth. Crowded teeth are aesthetically unpleasant and difficult to clean. This increases the risk of developing cavities, dental decay, and gum disease.

Children start to lose their baby teeth around the age of 5. Premature loss of baby teeth, whether due to injury or decay, increases the risk of teeth crowding. When a space is created in the mouth, the adjoining teeth will tend to shift to occupy this gap. The permanent teeth will not have enough space to erupt, resulting in crowded or impacted teeth.

  • For premature loss of baby teeth in young children, orthodontists recommend the use of dental space maintainers. Using these maintainers prevents shifting and crowding of teeth and ensures enough space for permanent teeth to erupt properly.

For teenagers and young adults, orthodontists recommend braces and Invisalign to reduce crowding. These appliances slowly shift the misplaced teeth back to their ideal position.

Open Bite

  • common orthodontic issuesAn open bite is a type of malocclusion in which both sets of teeth do not overlap when the mouth is closed. As a result, a space or opening is formed between the upper and lower arches. Children who suffer from open bite find it difficult to bite and chew their food properly. Some children also develop certain displeasing habits, such as tongue thrusting and excessive thumb-sucking. Speech problems are also observed in children with open bite.

Orthodontists use clear aligners, braces, or headgear to treat open bites in children. The recommended age for using these oral appliances is seven and above when permanent teeth have started replacing baby teeth in children.

Abnormal Eruptions

Abnormal eruptions are caused due to an anomaly in the teeth development process. As a result, the tooth deviates from the natural course and erupts through the gum in the wrong place. Abnormal eruptions can occur due to the following reasons:

  • Early loss of the primary tooth causes a change in the spacing of the mouth, leading to abnormal eruptions.
  • Development of more than the usual number of primary teeth.
  • A small mouth that does not accommodate all the teeth
  • Injury to the mouth or jaw.

Abnormal eruptions are treated by pulling out stubborn baby teeth that won’t fall out on their own and using braces or Invisalign to straighten the misplaced teeth.


An overbite is a common malocclusion characterized by protruding front teeth that extend beyond the bottom set of teeth. Treating an overbite is essential. In individuals where the gap between both teeth is quite large, the following health issues can occur:

  • Trouble with breathing
  • Improper chewing
  • Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) or gum disease
  • Formation of cavities and dental decay
  • Speech impediments
  • Uneven wear

Overbite occurs due to the irregular shape or size of the jaw and lack of space in the jaw area to accommodate all teeth. Treating overbite in children is easier because their jaws can be modified successfully. Treatment of overbite in children comprises the following steps:

  • Removal of baby teeth to make space for permanent teeth
  • Use of growth modification devices to position the jaw optimally
  • Use of braces to slowly shift the teeth and jaw in their natural place
  • Use of retainers to prevent reshifting of the teeth.

Increased Overjet

  • Increased overjet is a malocclusion or bad bite similar to an overbite. An overjet occurs when the top front teeth or maxillary central incisors overlap the bottom front teeth or mandibular central incisors. Due to the lack of symmetry, a gap is formed between both sets of teeth. Increased overjet causes the front teeth to stick out and appear more prominent than the remaining teeth. “Buck teeth” is a common offensive term that describes an increased overjet.

There are several different ways to treat an increased overjet. Depending upon the severity of the situation, orthodontists will use the following devices to reduce the appearance of an increased overjet:

  • Dental braces
  • Veneers
  • Dental bonding
  • Placement of crown


  • Diastema is a dental irregularity that is characterized by excessive spacing between adjacent teeth. Midline diastema is the most common type of diastema, which is attributed to a gap between the front two teeth.

Gaps between the teeth impair a person’s physical appearance and can also be a symptom of gum disease. In addition, food particles get stuck in the spacing between the teeth, making it difficult to remove them through brushing. This increases the chances of dental decay.

  • Diastema is common in children with baby teeth. It usually resolves when the permanent teeth come out. However, sometimes diastema persists during preteens and teenage as well. For such cases, orthodontic treatment is required.

The following cosmetic dental options are available for the treatment of diastema:

  • Dental bonding
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Braces
  • Dental bridge
  • Dental implant

Contact Icon Dental Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment for your children’s orthodontic needs in Seattle or Everett. Our expert dentists are dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatment, from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Trust us to help your child achieve a healthier, more beautiful smile. For consultations or bookings, call us at 206-225-2882 for Seattle and 425-337-2400 for Everett appointments.

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