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Recognizing and Treating Your Child’s Orthodontic Issues

As a parent or caregiver, you want the best for your child, including a healthy smile. That means teaching them good oral habits, scheduling regular visits with the dentist, and limiting sugary snacks. But did you know that recognizing and treating your child’s orthodontic issues, by scheduling early orthodontic evaluations, is another important part of caring for your child’s smile? In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an orthodontic evaluation by the time they’re about seven years old. By this age, most kids will have enough dental landmarks in place that we can assess their teeth, jaw, and bite for normal development. 

Here at Nordberg Orthodontics, we’re often asked how we know if a child needs orthodontic treatment. An early evaluation with Dr. Nordberg is our starting point to answering that question! When you schedule your child for a complimentary consultation in our Canyon Road office, there are several common issues he’ll be looking for. Knowing more about these challenges—and how we can correct them—will give you better insight into how they can affect your child’s smile. Keep reading below to learn more! 

Gapped teeth

Gapped teeth are common in children. There are a number of reasons a child would develop them, from genetics to poor oral habits like thumb sucking and extended use of a pacifier or bottle. Whatever the underlying reason, we can create a personalized treatment plan to help close the gaps in your child’s smile.  

Crowded teeth

If your child has crooked teeth, it can be difficult to brush and floss them effectively. Because healthy teeth and gums are essential to good oral health, this increases the chance of developing tooth decay, cavities, and even gum disease. Customized treatment can move them into better positions in small increments, giving your child teeth that are easier to clean. This can also relieve facial tension and improve difficulties with chewing and speech.  

Missing teeth

Gaps between the teeth can exist because congenitally missing teeth never grew in, or they may be created when permanent teeth are lost due to injury or disease. When a child has missing teeth, we can use braces to move the existing teeth into the proper positions and put a bonded bridge where the missing teeth would normally be. This will result in a more evenly-spaced and functional smile.

Open bite

With an open bite, the upper and lower rows of the front teeth don’t touch or close when smiling or chewing. Many open bites come from extended thumb sucking in childhood, which can cause the teeth to grow into a noticeably rounded formation.

We can treat an open bite with a combination of braces and an orthodontic appliance known as a “crib.” This device prevents the tongue from putting pressure against the anterior teeth when swallowing, training it to swallow correctly. This will align your child’s smile, allow them to close their teeth, and help them smile or chew with ease! 

Deep overbite

With a deep overbite, a child’s lower teeth recede so far behind the upper teeth that they bite into the roof of the mouth. The upper front teeth also overlap the lower front teeth. Out of all the bite disorders, this one is the most detrimental to the teeth and health of the jaw joints. It can also negatively affect the shape and appearance of a child’s face. 

Treatment for a deep overbite may require orthodontics and restorative dentistry together, although orthodontics alone can sometimes be enough to correct it. This will usually depend on the severity of the case. By correcting this misalignment, we can restore the full functionality of your child’s teeth and improve the appearance of their smile.


An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth. This type of bite misalignment can cause pain at the jaw joint and the angled pressure can wear down some of the teeth prematurely. We have a few treatment options available for children who have an underbite, including:

  • an upper jaw expander, which can be widened nightly until treatment is complete
  • a reverse-pull face mask, which wraps around the head and attaches to metal bands on the back upper teeth to pull the upper jaw forward
  • traditional braces to adjust the misaligned teeth

These treatments will not only help relieve any pain and discomfort caused by the underbite, they’ll also make it easier for your child to smile, eat, and breathe more effectively. 


Often referred to as “buck teeth,” an overjet causes the top front teeth to protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. Treatment is most effective when the child is diagnosed early, since it gives us the chance to guide tooth eruption to our advantage. Your child’s age and specific needs will determine the approach Dr. Nordberg chooses to take, but the options will usually include:

  • bite correction devices
  • traditional braces
  • removable orthodontic appliances
  • tooth removal
  • surgery

Whatever treatment ends up being best for your child, they’ll be left with nothing but a bright, beautiful, and balanced smile in the end!

Give your child’s smile the best chance with Nordberg Orthodontics

At Nordberg Orthodontics, we believe your child’s smile is as special as they are. Once they’ve had their initial evaluation with Dr. Nordberg, he’ll create a customized treatment plan for them based on their unique needs. This approach ensures the best results in the least amount of time.

Have you ever wondered if orthodontic care could benefit your child’s smile? We’d love to meet you both and take a look at their dental development. Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Nordberg, and take the first step towards a lifetime of healthy smiles for your child!