Are you a parent in Richmond, VA wondering if your 2-year-old’s overbite is a big issue that needs to be fixed?
As your child grows in their first two years, a toddler overbite may seem alarming. You may think that you need to get your child to a professional and get this newborn overbite corrected. Or, you may believe it’s best to let them grow and see how your baby’s overbite progresses in the years to come.
Which method is correct when dealing with an overbite in kids?
In this article, we’re sharing expert information on early toddler overbites. We’ll also be answering questions about overbites, like “How do you fix an overbite in a child?”
Keep reading to better understand an overbite in kids and what to do if your two-year-old develops one.
What Is an Overbite?
Malocclusion is the orthodontic term for crooked teeth (or a poor bite). There are different forms and causes of a poor bite, but one fairly common type of malocclusion is an overbite.
An overbite refers to upper teeth overlapping the lower teeth. A slight overbite is normal and expected in a healthy mouth. But when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too much, an overbite can become an issue.
What Causes an Overbite in 2-Year-Olds?
Overbites typically develop in children and can last through adulthood if not treated. Often, parents may see an overbite forming in their children as early as two years old.
A few things can cause a 2-year-old overbite:
- Their jaw and mouth still developing
- Sucking on their thumb or pacifier
Let’s dive into these three causes a little bit further.
There’s nothing you can do about genetics. If your child’s overbite is related to genetics, then all you can do is wait for them to reach the age of seven and take them to the orthodontist for their first visit. The orthodontist can help you understand the overbite’s severity and what treatment is necessary to correct it.
Many parents see an overbite develop and wonder, “Will an overbite in a toddler correct itself?” That’s a great question to ask.
Sometimes it may seem like there’s a large overbite in a 2-year-old, but it’s simply because their jaw and mouth are still developing. Often, a dentist will recommend waiting a few more years to see how your toddler’s overbite progresses. It’s not uncommon for the jaw and mouth to become more aligned over time.
If your child’s overbite still seems significant at the age of 7 or later, you can take them to a pediatric orthodontist for a professional opinion.
Sucking on Thumb or Pacifier
Prolonged thumb- or pacifier-sucking is a major contributing factor to toddler overbites. When a child sucks on a pacifier or thumb, it can put extra pressure on their upper jaw and teeth. This pressure can push the jaw and teeth too far forward.
A pacifier or thumb sucking can be a beneficial soothing mechanism for babies. Most children will stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier between the age of two to four. If your child doesn’t stop by the age of four, the American Dental Association recommends discouraging the habit.
Now that we know some of the causes of an overbite, let’s look at some of the ways an overbite is corrected.
How Do You Fix an Overbite in a Child?
An orthodontist can fix an overbite. However, the correct overbite fix is dependent on the age of your child and the severity of their overbite.
Often, an overbite in 2-year-olds is normal and may correct itself as the child develops further. Even if the child’s overbite is significant, orthodontists won’t usually treat it until around age 7 or 8.
Stopping a thumb or pacifier sucking habit can help naturally correct a newborn overbite. One way to try putting an end to this habit is by offering positive reinforcement of alternative coping strategies or gently reminding your child not to suck their thumb. In more complex cases, there are many products available that can aid in stopping a sucking habit.
Ages 7 and Older
Orthodontic experts agree that age seven is the earliest age to schedule an initial orthodontic consultation for your child. At age seven, your child’s permanent teeth have begun to erupt. An orthodontist can look at their mouth, take some x-rays, and get an idea of how their permanent teeth look.
If the orthodontist believes that your child’s overbite is due to a jaw-growth issue, they may recommend earlier (Phase 1) treatment. After this first phase is complete, there will be a pause for a few years where no treatment will take place. The orthodontist will simply monitor the growth and development of your child’s teeth and jaw until all their permanent teeth erupt. Then, the orthodontist will look in your child’s mouth again. If alignment issues still exist, the orthodontist will suggest a longer orthodontic treatment with braces or Invisalign to align adult teeth.
Professional Advice for a Toddler Overbite
As a parent, it’s easy to see something like an overbite in your child and become worried. After all, you want your child to grow and develop properly.
Fortunately, a toddler overbite isn’t necessarily an issue. A 2-year-old overbite may be caused by:
- Lack of full development
- A sucking habit
In the first or second case, you’ll need to wait until your child grows to seven years of age. Then, you can take them to an orthodontist and get an expert opinion on the severity and treatment of your child’s overbite. If an overbite in a 2-year-old is developing due to thumb or pacifier sucking, you’ll want to try to break them of this habit.
Are you looking for an orthodontist to help with your child’s overbite?
At Bates Orthodontics, we provide professional advice and early treatment for kids. Our trained orthodontist believes in taking a conservative approach to kids’ orthodontics, meaning your child will only receive treatment if it’s necessary for long-term oral health. We’ll be open and honest with you from the first time we see you during your free consultation until treatment is complete.
Schedule a free consultation for your child today to see how their teeth look and what treatment they may need in the coming months or years.