Recognizing and Treating A Misaligned Jaw

If you’re wondering how to tell if your child needs orthodontic treatment, you’re not alone! Many of the parents we meet at Master Orthodontics ask us this very question. There are quite a few factors that need to be considered, including the child’s age, how their teeth and jaws are aligned and developing, and the desired results. The good news is that recognizing and treating your child’s orthodontic issues is what our office is here to do!

The best way to address all of these issues is an early orthodontic evaluation. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child see an orthodontist by age seven. Around this time, most children will have enough dental landmarks in place that their teeth, jaw, and bite can be examined for orthodontic treatment. 

There are several common issues that Dr. Caballero will be checking 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 Master Orthodontics patients! 


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 Master Orthodontics. 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.
  • Orthopedic appliance: This type of appliance aims to stimulate growth and or redirected i order to correct the underbite. Obviously the genetic component will play an important role in the success of the correction

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

Deep overbite

When a patient has a deep overbite, the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth too much. A deep overbite can be detrimental to the teeth and potentially 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!

Open bite / Habit

If your child has 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 a gentle appliance that doesn’t poke. The sooner your child stops the habit, the more the teeth will revert to where they were supposed to be.

Recognizing and Treating A Misaligned Jaw

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 unique needs will determine what treatment approach we take, but options most often include:

  • tooth extraction
  • traditional braces
  • bite correction devices
  • removable orthodontic appliances

Once Dr. Caballero decides on the correct treatment for your child’s overjet, they’ll be left with a beautifully balanced smile after it’s completed.

Gapped teeth

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

Missing teeth

Gaps can exist because of congenitally missing teeth or a loss of a tooth due to injury or disease. Dr. Caballero can close the space left by the missing tooth. In other cases, our skilled office 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). 

Crowded teeth

Healthy teeth and gums are an important 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, Dr. Caballero 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 correct chewing and speech problems!

Recognizing and Treating A Misaligned Jaw

Get a beautiful smile at Master Orthodontics

At Master Orthodontics, we aim to provide patients with a professional and stress-free orthodontic experience, from your first visit to the day your brand new smile is revealed. Our offices in Bremerton, Gig Harbor, and Port Orchard believe every patient should have access to high-quality, affordable orthodontic care, and we work hard to ensure this for every patient. To learn more about treatment, costs, and payment options, contact our office to schedule your complimentary consultation. No matter your age, we want to be there for you every step of your orthodontic journey. Get in touch to schedule your FREE consultation today for prolonged oral health!