Frequently asked questions

What signals should trigger a visit to the orthodontist?

1. The child breathes by mouth

If a child has difficulty breathing through the nose, it's best to consult both an orthodontist and an ENT specialist. Breathing through the mouth can be the result of problems with the tonsils, the teeth or a blocked nose.

2. Teeth are closely spaced

This phenomenon often has a genetic origin: some jaws are too small for the teeth they contain. In such cases, the growth of the upper jaw can be slightly modified to create space for the missing teeth. This is made possible by a special appliance. If the problem is not treated in time, the likelihood of having to extract teeth increases. However, if the problem is tackled early, subsequent treatment will be that much easier.

3. Teeth are too far apart

Before any intervention, it's important to check that all teeth have been renewed and have fully erupted. In fact, early manipulation should be avoided unless a lack of space prevents certain teeth from growing in.

4. Teeth are unable to erupt

Cause 1: Lack of space

If there isn't enough space, the tooth gets stuck in the bone. The orthodontist must then intervene. He will free up space by widening the palate.

Cause 2: Missing teeth

Not everyone has all their teeth. In fact, between 2% and 3% of people suffer from agenesis, i.e. the absence of all their teeth. This problem can be detected by X-ray. There are two possibilities: either wait until the child is older to fill the gap with other teeth, or deal with it immediately. Either way, it's imperative to find out why a tooth is missing. What's more, if some teeth are indeed missing, others can be tightened to fill the gap.

Cause 3: Stuck teeth

Even though they are visible on X-ray and have enough space, some teeth remain stuck in the bone and can't come out on their own. The reason for this phenomenon, known as "ankylosis", needs to be determined.
This is followed by surgery to retrieve the tooth stuck in the bone. The orthodontist uses a special device to pull the tooth into the desired position. The operation is a bit like winter fishing for the Inuit: they make a hole in the ice but can't spot the fish they're after by eye.

This is a complex treatment combining surgery and orthodontics. The longer you delay correcting the problem, the more difficult it will be to resolve. So it's best to plan ahead. If no intervention is carried out, a tooth will remain missing in the area. This will be all the more unsightly if, for example, it's a canine, a large, visible tooth. What's more, it will be impossible to place an implant, as the missing tooth will still be trapped in the bone.

5. Upper teeth are more forward than lower teeth

In this case, you need to measure the gap between them. If it's not too large, the problem can be corrected during adolescence.

On the other hand, if the gap is too deep and the child is being teased by peers, it's best to intervene early.

In this case, we can choose to use removable or fixed appliances, depending on the patient's degree of cooperation.

If nothing is done during growth, it will be very difficult to remedy the problem later on. If you want optimal aesthetic results, you need to act fast. However, this second solution risks premature aging of the face.

6. Lower teeth are further forward than upper teeth

This is one of those problems that requires an immediate solution. As the mandible grows larger than the jaw, the problem will only get worse if the lower teeth are already further forward. In this case, if we don't intervene in time, we run the risk of tooth wear, gingival recession and the real risk of needing maxillofacial surgery.

7. Malocclusion

The general causes of malocclusion are both genetic and environmental. By environmental, we mean, for example, swallowing problems or a tendency to suck one's thumb. The all-important genetic component is therefore potentially aggravated by the patient's individual behavior.

If a malocclusion is left untreated, it will affect the alignment of the teeth and often lead to complications. So it's not just for aesthetic reasons that a beautiful smile is desirable.

8. Teeth are crooked and the toothbrush can't get through

A beautiful smile resulting from perfect alignment of the teeth enables effective brushing to avoid problems such as cavities, receding gums, etc...

9. Cannot close mouth

The inability to close the mouth is the result of a genetic
deformity caused by the teeth not touching. This irregularity can be very disabling, leading to problems such as difficulty chewing or digesting. Unfortunately, in many cases, braces alone are not enough to solve the problem, and maxillofacial surgery is required. If left untreated in childhood, maxillofacial surgery will be required at a later stage. If neglect continues into adulthood, this will also lead to digestive complications.

10. Chewing difficulties

These difficulties arise from the fact that few teeth touch, making it less efficient to break down food into smaller pieces for digestion. Treatment is usually carried out using an appliance that exerts a push towards the base of the bone, thereby regressing the teeth that are touching and those that are not. Eventually, this manipulation will allow all surfaces to touch simultaneously.

11. Mandibles make noise

This phenomenon has both physiological and psychological causes. When the jaw doesn't move smoothly, a noise is heard at the joint. This joint is located close to the ears. Overloading of the tempo-mandibular joint is often to blame. Unfortunately, this overload is mainly due to nocturnal habits over which we have very little control. In 58% of cases, bruxism is the unconscious grinding or clenching of teeth to relieve stress.

Clenching your teeth has major consequences for the tempo-mandibular joint. As the mandible is the only free bone in the skull, the joint is overloaded when pressed against the skull.

This often leads to noises and creaking. If you don't feel any pain, this is perfectly acceptable. However, if the noises disappear, this is not necessarily a good sign. This may be due to deterioration of the joint, which has become smoother through wear and tear.

Generally harmless and widespread (they affect around one in two people), mandibular joint noises should not immediately be considered a major problem. However, if they are associated with pain, don't hesitate to consult an orthodontist. The orthodontist is not necessarily qualified to solve this problem, which is largely due to stress.

However, the manufacture of a night splint to close the jaws, protect the tooth surface and reduce joint overload is still a possibility.

12. The child bites his cheeks

This problem can be caused by crooked teeth that damage the mucous membrane of the cheek. In the case of outward-facing wisdom teeth, extraction is recommended. In the case of other teeth, they can be realigned very simply with the help of an appliance.

What are the consequences if left untreated? If someone bites themselves constantly in the same place, the repetition of this gesture can cause serious problems in the area concerned (cheek diseases, mini-cancers).

13. The child's head lacks symmetry

It all depends on the degree and cause of the asymmetry. Generally speaking, the defect stems from a jaw that is too small for the size of the mandible. The mandible must then adapt by forcing on one side or the other. This situation can be compared to a box with a lid that's too small or too large, and therefore unstable.

When this type of case arises, don't wait too long, as the problem may become permanent and require maxillofacial surgery.
Get the smile you deserve
Book your first visit now
Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. See our privacy policy for more information.