Identifying & Treating A Child’s Misaligned Jaw

Sandifer Orthodontics is proud to create beautifully aligned smiles for patients of all ages throughout Jackson, Brandon, and the surrounding communities. Our practice works with patients of all ages, including young children. We’re here to help you with identifying and treating your child’s misaligned jaw. As an experienced orthodontist, Dr. Sandifer has had extensive training and education in treating a variety of issues our younger patients may be experiencing. This includes everything from a simple case of crowded teeth to a more serious misaligned bite, sometimes referred to as malocclusion. Some of the children we see suffer from jaw pain and persistent headaches, while others find that their speech or sleep patterns are affected.

The good news is, we can often catch these problems before they have a chance to become more serious thanks to early childhood evaluations. These visits are an essential tool for maintaining oral health—so important, in fact, that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child has one by the time they’re about seven years old.

When you schedule an evaluation for your child with our office, Dr. Sandifer will perform a thorough oral examination to check for signs of any current or potential orthodontic issues that need to be addressed. Keep reading below to learn more about the most common problems we see during these evaluations!

Crowded teeth

A good dental hygiene routine is essential for maintaining oral health, but crowded teeth can interfere by making brushing and flossing more difficult. This increases the risk of developing tooth decay, cavities, and other dental issues.

Gapped teeth

Gaps in the teeth are quite common in childhood and occur for various reasons. These may include genetics, thumb sucking, and extended use of a bottle or pacifier. When a child has too much space between their teeth, it is important to identify any underlying causes and address them if necessary.

Missing teeth

Some children have a gapped smile because of congenitally missing teeth. Others may lose permanent teeth through injury or disease. Whatever the cause, children with missing teeth will often benefit from orthodontic appliances like braces. These appliances can move the existing teeth into the proper positions, at which point a dentist can place a bonded bridge or implant to fill the gap.

Open bite

With an open bite, the upper and lower rows of the front teeth do not touch or close when a child is smiling or chewing. Many open bite cases come from extended thumb sucking in childhood, which can cause the teeth to grow into a noticeably rounded formation.

Deep overbite

When a child has a deep overbite, their lower teeth recede so far behind the upper teeth that they bite into the roof of the mouth. The upper front teeth also tend to overlap the lower front teeth. A deep overbite can also impact the shape and appearance of a child’s face. Out of all the bite disorders, this one tends to be the most detrimental to a child’s teeth and the health of their jaw joints.


An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth. This type of bite misalignment can cause pain in the jaw joint. The angled pressure may also wear down some of the front teeth, which can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful for a child.


Overjets, also known as “buck teeth,” occur when a child’s top front teeth protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. Overjets are most effectively treated when diagnosed early, as this allows an experienced orthodontist to guide the eruption of their permanent teeth.

What treatments are available for aligning a child’s jaw?

Your child’s smile is as special as they are! Every case comes with its own set of needs and goals, which is why we offer treatment plans that are fully customized for each patient. These plans may include one or more orthodontic appliances. If treatment is indicated for your child, we’ll discuss this with you in detail during your child’s evaluation. Our practice offers patients the following treatment options.

Traditional metal braces

Traditional metal braces are the most popular orthodontic appliance, and with good reason! They can be an extremely effective option, particularly for more severe or complicated cases. Modern braces use high-quality stainless steel, but innovations in the design mean they’re much more comfortable than previous versions—and much more attractive, too! The total treatment time also tends to be shorter than it used to be.

Clear braces

These braces work the same way traditional braces do but benefit from using clear, white, or tooth-colored brackets. For an almost invisible treatment option, we can use them with matching elastics or ties! This makes them popular with our more image-conscious patients. Clear brackets are more delicate than metal braces, so we generally recommend them only for older teen and adult patients.

Invisalign clear aligners

The Invisalign system uses a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth instead of brackets and wires. These are made of a soft but strong thermoplastic resin material and customized to fit snugly but comfortably over your teeth. Patients must wear the aligners for 20-22 hours each day to move the teeth into the desired positions. Each aligner must also be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the shifting teeth.

As noted above, every smile is unique, and every patient has their own needs. Not every treatment option will be a good fit for every patient. That’s why it’s important to work with a qualified orthodontist like Dr. Sandifer! During your child’s evaluation, she will review their bite issues, then provide a diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. This ensures they receive the best treatment for their smile at the most optimal time!

Identifying & Treating A Child's Misaligned Jaw

Give your child’s smile the best start with Sandifer Orthodontics

Correcting a child’s misaligned bite comes with many benefits. It can help prevent or eliminate the symptoms of malocclusion, improve oral function, and reduce the risk of developing tooth decay and cavities.

If Dr. Sandifer feels that it’s in your child’s best interest to wait for treatment, you’ll be invited to bring them in for regular visits so we can continue to monitor their smile as they grow. These appointments are provided at no charge to you!

You can feel confident in the care our team provides for your child and trust that any treatment we recommend is in their best interest. To learn more about how our expert team can identify and treat misalignments, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Sandifer in our Jackson or Brandon office!