Should I be worried about my son's teeth?
April 26, 2010 6:11 AM   Subscribe

Should I be worried about my son's teeth/jaw? Is it malocclusion?

When my 3 year old bites down his bottom teeth are infront of his top teeth. I know I need to get him to a dentist and I definitely will asap.
I'm not too concerned at the moment as it doesn't seem to be affecting him in any way as far as I can tell. I'm worried that it might cause problems as he grows and how it might have to be treated (ie. surgery).
I read about something called Class III malocclusion, does anybody have any experience with this? Any info would be much appreciated. (YANMDentist)
posted by sammyabdu to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Some teeth need more dental attention than others as a child grows.
I have a crossbite and TMJ. I have had surgery suggested at various times in the past, but have never done it because the benefits would be minimal (since the problems it causes me are minimal).
Everyone is different, and there is a wide spectrum to every problem. I would not worry too much about it yet, but take your cues from the dentist. Sorry I don't have any specific info about malocclusion.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:49 AM on April 26, 2010

Mandibular prognathism.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:52 AM on April 26, 2010

Dentist here (IANYD).

Does your son consistently bite in the relationship you describe or is he able to bite in a "normal"--meaning top teeth overlapping bottom--relationship as well? Many young children can go back and forth and if he can, his prognosis for outgrowing this is better.

He sounds like he has what's called an anterior crossbite, which just means that his bottom teeth overlap over his top teeth. The Class III malocclusion speaks to the relationship of his molars, and the likelihood of his being in Class III relationship is good.

Having an anterior crossbite at your son's age does mean he's more likely to have mandibular prognathism at a later age. Usually for someone like your son, an orthodontic evaluation is recommended at age 7. Depending on severity, it may be corrected by orthodontics or by surgery.

And of course, if he's like SLC Mom, you may choose not to correct it, but correcting it may address issues of function and esthetics that may arise.

If your son sees a pediatric dentist regularly, they are trained to diagnose these things; they can follow his growth and let you know when action is indicated. Disclaimer: IAAPD.
posted by choochoo at 8:42 AM on April 26, 2010

My son had this very thing. When it was time to start taking him to a dentist, we found a pediatric dentist for him (not so sure this was a necessity, but our own dentists were not convenient, so he was going to have his own dentist anyway.) So his dentist monitored his mouth, and shortly before he turned 8 she referred him to an orthodontist, who set him up with a retainer (he could pop it in and out - it wasn't the "railroad tracks" type braces) and within a year, his top teeth were in front of his bottom teeth and he was all done. Incidently, we chose to correct it because at the point were his bite crossed over, the top and bottom teeth were grinding on each other and the top teeth were being worn away. We are really happy with the results - it was not as worrisome a process as I thought it might be. My son found the whole thing sort of interesting.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:51 AM on April 26, 2010

So, as I grew older, I had this problem, we tried to correct it with braces, but that ended up not working and I had surgery where my top jaw was broken and moved forward when I was in high school. It wasn't that bad. So I can't say whether your son will have to have the surgery or not, the dentists will help you out with that. But I can give you a first hand account that it won't be that bad even if he does have to have surgery, I promise!
posted by katers890 at 10:01 AM on April 26, 2010

I am so grateful for all your replies.

@choochoo - I'm certain that his bottom teeth are always infront of the top teeth.

I will be taking him to a pediatric dentist in the next few weeks but from what I gather from your replies it would be just to moniter him until he's old enough to fix it (if that's the path we choose).
posted by sammyabdu at 2:38 AM on April 30, 2010

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