Children require orthodontic treatment for a number of reasons. It can correct facial imbalances, make room for crowded teeth and widen palates, when necessary. The most important predictor of orthodontic treatment is a condition known as overjet. Parents should understand the importance of correcting this particular type of malocclusion.
Overjet is the extent of horizontal distance between the upper and lower front teeth. Excessive overjet occurs when the upper front teeth are significantly further forward than the lower front teeth. Overjet is commonly confused with a deep bite. Excessive overjet requires correction by an orthodontist.
Causes Of Overjet
Overjet is often the result of thumb sucking or overuse of pacifiers at a young age. It can also be the result of overcrowded teeth forcing the upper front teeth to push outward. An excess overjet greatly increases the risk of injuring the protruded upper front teeth. The misaligned teeth can make biting into food difficult or impossible. Excess overjet can usually be corrected with braces but surgery may be required in severe cases.
Social Effects Of Overjet
Overjet presents not only health issues by making front teeth more prone to injury, but it carries social stigma as well. Severe overjet makes some children so self conscious they refuse to smile with their lips apart. It can snuff self confidence, interfere with relationships and leave children open to bullying from their peers.
Correcting overjet in children is important from a health standpoint because overjet of more than three millimeters makes them twice as likely to experience a traumatic dental injury. Children can fracture their teeth, or their teeth can intrude into the gums.
If thumb sucking causes the overjet, the problem can be alleviated by stopping the habit. Orthodontists can discourage thumb sucking by installing an appliance in the child’s mouth that prevents the habit. If crowding causes the problem, braces can correct the issue and move teeth into their proper position.
If you are concerned about your child’s overjet, call our office for a consultation at 203-513-2014.