Treating a jaw problem often involves a general dentist, an orthodontist, and an oral surgeon. Your child's dental team may include a doctor if the cause of your child's jaw problem is related to a condition like Crouzon syndrome or gigantism. As noted by the American Association of Orthodontists, having your child see an orthodontist sooner rather than later can help them get the best course of treatment for an abnormal jaw alignment. They recommend your child see an orthodontist as early as seven years old. This is when your child's mouth has developed enough for a professional to look for signs of any issues.
Before beginning any prognathism treatment, your child's dental team will work together to ensure everyone is on the same page. Their communication is key to a successful outcome. Because your child will have a course of treatment tailored to their individual needs, don't be shy about asking questions. We know your child's health is your top priority, and it's normal to want to understand their treatment plan.
Besides completing a physical exam and asking about your child's medical history, dental professionals will also want to gather as much dental information as they can. This is usually done by getting a dental X-ray, skull X-ray, or bite imprint. Once they've determined the severity of your child's jaw misalignment, they will most likely recommend orthodontic appliances, such as braces or a mouthguard. Sometimes surgery may be recommended as well.
Orthognathic surgery is the standard form of surgery to move either the upper or lower jaw into proper alignment. Mayo Clinic notes this type of procedure is appropriate for children once their jaw growth stops, at about 14 to 16 years of age for females and 17 to 21 for males. Braces may be included before and after surgery to ensure proper alignment is achieved.
If your child experiences facial pain or has serious concerns about their jaw's appearance, it may be time to talk to their dental professional about treatment options. We know this can initially feel like a difficult conversation to have, but we believe that the more communication around a topic, the better! Helping your child feel confident in their smile while keeping it healthy is what matters most to you. That's why speaking with a dental professional will help put your mind at ease. They'll help you determine the best course of action for achieving the results you and your child are looking for!