There are various reasons for a child's malocclusion:
• head lag during sleep, the habit of sleeping in the same position;
• long-term (over one year) breastfeeding or bottle-feeding with a big hole in the nipple;
• constant mouth breathing when a child suffers from chronic rhinitis or adenoids, which leads to the disruption of the jaw, and along with it, normal bite development;
• prolonged pacifier sucking after teething;
• bad habits: thumb, tongue, lip, etc. sucking.
It is advisable to start treating malocclusion immediately, as soon as the problem is detected. Malocclusion can cause not only aesthetic problems (disproportionate jaw, crooked tooth alignments, etc.), but also periodontic problems, tooth and gum damage, tooth decay, tooth abrasion, face and neck pain, chronic migraines and even gastrointestinal tract diseases.
Children aged 5 to 6 should visit an orthodontist for the first time because this is the period when permanent teeth start erupting. An orthodontist's consultation is really necessary when children experience early loss of deciduous teeth, difficulty in chewing, speech defects, when they bite their cheeks, have protruding teeth, teeth that don't occlude properly or do not occlude at all, when children suffer from facial asymmetry.
In order to treat malocclusion in small children (aged from 5 to 10) dentists use removable orthodontic (pre-orthodontic) trainers.
Pre-orthodontic trainer eliminates bad habits and helps permanent teeth to erupt correctly.
There are two kinds of trainers: soft and flexible Stage I trainer (a blue one) and hard Stage II trainer (a red one).
Soft and flexible starting trainer is used to eliminate almost all kinds of abnormalities in tooth position and bad habits (it is used for 6–8 months). A much stiffer finishing trainer aligns teeth more intensively and also eliminates bad habits (it is used the next 6–12 months).