Friday - - Beauty -

Q My son’s up­per front teeth are be­hind the lower teeth when he closes his mouth. He is eight. Does he need to get this cor­rected now or can we wait for all his milk teeth to fall?

AAt eight years of age, the up­per front teeth should be the per­ma­nent in­cisors. Nor­mally, these teeth should be in front of the bot­tom in­cisors when the up­per and lower jaws touch.

If an up­per sin­gle tooth or teeth bite be­hind the lower teeth, this con­di­tion is called an­te­rior cross­bite. It has to be treated by an or­tho­don­tist or pae­di­atric den­tist at the ear­li­est.

The an­te­rior cross­bite of a sin­gle tooth can be usu­ally cor­rected by an ap­pli­ance that would move the tooth for­ward into the cor­rect po­si­tion. This would en­able the up­per jaw to de­velop nor­mally.

There is a mis­con­cep­tion that ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties or malalign­ment of teeth need not be cor­rected un­til all per­ma­nent teeth ex­cept third mo­lars erupt, at 12 to 13 years. This can cause se­ri­ous prob­lems, and can lead to per­ma­nent de­for­ma­tion of the jaws.

Ide­ally, every child should have his first or­thodon­tic con­sul­ta­tion at the age of seven.

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