By: Dr Keith Hengpoonthana
We often get asked by parents whether their child’s teeth and bite are normal. Though there are many variations of normal particularly with the age that teeth come through, there’s a list of things to look out for that may be signs of an underlying problems:
- Missing teeth particularly permanent incisors and canines (adult front teeth): A good clue is that the front baby teeth usually lost before the age of 8 (canines before age 13) are still there and not showing any signs of becoming loose.
- Upper front teeth that stick out in front of the bottom front by more than 4mm, sometimes the bottom lip is noticeably tucked behind the upper front teeth.
- Lower front teeth that stick out in front of the upper front teeth
- Crowded (crooked) teeth: Be on the look out for adult teeth coming through behind or in front of baby teeth that haven’t loosened or fallen out.
- Front teeth don’t touch together, and only back teeth touch, referred to as an “Open bite”.
- Habits and other conditions: Thumb sucking, mouth breathing, snoring, grinding of teeth at night, speech impediments.
- Adult teeth that appear after the loss of baby teeth on one side, but the other side still has not appeared for more than 6 months.
- Tooth/teeth that appear “sunken in” compared to the teeth on either side of it.
- The middle of the jaw upper doesn’t match the lower: Where the two upper front teeth meet (“upper mid-line”), doesn’t match where the two lower front teeth meet (“lower mid-line”). The mid-lines being off to one side relative to the rest of the face.
- The bottom front teeth not visible at all when biting down, you can only see the upper front teeth (“Deep bite”). Pain on biting down particularly from the gums behind the top front teeth is called a “traumatic deep bite”.
Early identification often leads to a better outcome as in some cases the status of the growth of your child has a big effect on the treatment carried out. If you notice any of the above or are concerned about how your child’s teeth and bite are, make an appointment to discuss it with us we’d be happy to help.