Recognizing and treating a misaligned jaw

If you want to tell if your child will need orthodontic treatment, you’re not alone! Many parents we meet here at Orthodontics Exclusively ask us this very question. However, there’s no universal answer! There are a few factors that need to be considered, including the child’s age, how their teeth and jaws are aligned, and the desired results. The good news is that identifying and treating your child’s orthodontic issues is what our team is here to do!

The most effective way to address all of these areas is an early orthodontic evaluation. The American Association of Orthodontists and our team of doctors recommend that every child see an orthodontist around seven years old. By this age, most children will have enough dental landmarks in place so that their teeth, jaw, and bite can be assessed for orthodontic treatment. 

Common orthodontic issues

There are a few common issues that our doctors will be searching for during this initial evaluation, regardless of the age of the child. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common things we see in our Orthodontics Exclusively patients! 

Deep overbite

When a child has a deep overbite, the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth too much. A deep overbite can be very detrimental to the teeth and the health of the jaw joints. The lower front teeth can be significantly and prematurely worn down from this positioning. It can have an impact on face shape and appearance by aging the face with collapsed lips which can make the chin and nose more prominent. Correcting a deep bite misalignment like this will greatly improve the functionality of your child’s teeth and dramatically improve the appearance of their smile!

Crowded teeth

Healthy teeth and gums are an essential part of your child’s oral health, but crowded teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss effectively. This increases the chance of tooth decay and cavities. If your child has crowded teeth, our doctors can move them into a better position in small increments over time. This will result in a smile that’s easier to clean. Treatment can even fix chewing and speech issues!

Excessive overjet

If your child has an overjet that is too large, their top front teeth will protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. This is commonly referred to as “buck teeth.” Teeth that stick out too far are much more likely to have trauma occur to them (a fall, a ball to the face, etc.). The child’s age and specific needs will determine what treatment approach we take, but options typically include:

  • Removable orthodontic appliances
  • Bite correction devices
  • Traditional braces
  • Tooth extraction

Once one of our doctors decides on the best treatment for your child’s overjet, they’ll have a beautifully balanced smile after it’s finished.

Missing teeth

Gaps can happen because of congenitally missing teeth or a loss of a tooth due to injury or disease. In some cases, our team can close the space left by the missing tooth. In other cases, our orthodontic team will properly position the adjacent teeth and the overall bite to ensure the success of a future dental implant (any implants will be done by an oral surgeon, not your orthodontist). 


Gapped teeth

Gapped teeth are very common, especially in children. They occur for a variety of reasons, from genetics to bad oral habits like thumb sucking or extended pacifier use. If your child has a bit too much space between their teeth, their orthodontist will identify the underlying cause, then create a personalized treatment plan to close the gaps. This can even improve the appearance of your child’s smile!

Open bite / habit

With an open bite, the upper and lower rows of the front teeth don’t touch or close when smiling or chewing. Open bites often come from extended thumb sucking in childhood, which can cause the teeth to grow into a noticeably rounded formation. Most thumb habits are easy to break with an appliance that doesn’t poke. The sooner your child stops the habit, the more their teeth will revert to where they were supposed to be.


An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth (a front-to-back problem). There are several treatment options available for patients with underbites at Orthodontics Exclusively. These include:

  • Traditional braces with rubber bands to adjust the misaligned teeth. An additional spring appliance may be used if rubber bands aren’t enough.
  • Jaw surgery: this is used to correct the most severe underbite cases

These treatments will make it easier to smile, eat, and even breathe more effectively. 

Your best smile is waiting for you at Orthodontics Exclusively

Here at Orthodontics Exclusively, we want to be by your side no matter what kind of treatment you’re looking for. Our team are all accomplished orthodontists who are University of Oklahoma faculty in addition to running our practice. They have many years of experience creating beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in Norman, Oklahoma City, and the surrounding areas. Our offices use cutting-edge technology to give you comfortable treatments and exceptional results as quickly as possible.

Get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation