When you’re the parent of a child who has severely protruding front teeth, you might worry about him or her being teased for having “buck teeth,” as they’re often called by kids. But do you also know about the negative effects that these so-called buck teeth can have on a patient’s overall health and lifestyle? In this post, I want to outline the issues that can arise from protruding teeth and demonstrate how braces can correct them before they become too problematic.
Having Teeth Knocked Out in Play
Excessively protruding front teeth can make active children and young athletes more prone to dental trauma. Because the teeth are positioned at a vulnerable angle, without enough lip coverage to protect them, protruded teeth have a greater chance of being knocked out in sports injuries or chipped playground mishaps. This creates a painful and often traumatic experience for the child and their playmates, and parents surely want to avoid the emergency care and extensive dental treatment necessary to replace or repair their child’s teeth.
It’s also important to consider preventive and protective dental procedures throughout childhood and adulthood. Everyone only gets one set of permanent teeth, so it is both expensive to replace them and imperative that we keep them intact and healthy.
Struggling with Bite Problems from Protruded Teeth
Teeth that protrude beyond the normal position create a misaligned bite, where the top and bottom teeth don’t touch at the front of the mouth. When a patient can’t close his or her teeth properly in front of the tongue, it may make biting food more difficult, which can also affect digestion when you can’t chew your food well enough before you swallow.
An irregular bite makes lunchtime a more stressful activity than it’s meant to be, and it can also be hard to mind your manners at the dinner table when you can’t quite close your mouth to chew. A misaligned bite due to protruding teeth can also affect speech and pronunciation, which can make answering questions in class intimidating and chatting with friends around your locker challenging.
Fixing Protruding Teeth Early
A recent study from the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics indicated that orthodontic treatment for protruding teeth can help young patients avoid many of the problems they would otherwise encounter.
As with most other health conditions, the earlier that protruding teeth are recognized and treatment is planned, the better. The American Association of Orthodontists actually suggests that parents bring children to an orthodontist by the age of 7 for an early assessment, particularly if they’re already seeing a potential orthodontic issue like protruded teeth.
We realize that children who are losing baby teeth and getting their permanent ones go through stages where their smiles don’t look quite balanced, and many children will naturally “grow into” their teeth just like everything else as they develop (we call it the Ugly Duckling phase). Even in this period of limbo though, an experienced orthodontist will still be able to gather valuable information about a young patient’s smile and determine if early treatment for protruding teeth would be beneficial.
Let’s Discuss Early Orthodontic Treatment
If your child’s top front row of teeth is angled outwards more than it should be, I encourage you to set up a free consultation. When you come in for your first visit, I’ll take a thorough look at your child’s teeth, and make an assessment based on their unique case and my experience with treating protruded teeth. Then, we will discuss what I find as well as potential early orthodontic treatment options if we decide they are necessary.
Hopefully this post has given you some background information on the importance of treatment for protruding teeth, and we’re here to answer any other questions as they arise. With all of that said, I look forward to getting to know you and your family as we begin building your child’s orthodontic foundation for a lifetime of great dental health!