Identifying And Correcting A Child’s Misaligned Jaw

For more than 30 years, Alba Orthodontics has been creating beautiful smiles for Mechanicsburg families! We see patients of all ages here, including young children. Our doctors have had extensive training in identifying and treating a variety of issues younger patients may be experiencing, including a misaligned bite. The technical term for this is malocclusion, and it can cause jaw pain and other problems for children. We’re here to help you with identifying and correcting your child’s misaligned jaw!

Fortunately, we’re often able to catch these issues during an early childhood evaluation. These visits are such an important tool for oral health that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child has one by the time they’re about seven years old. This allows experienced orthodontists like Dr. Alba and Dr. Jeff to observe their smle and ensure their bite is developing correctly.

When you schedule an evaluation for your child with our office, one of our doctors will perform a thorough oral examination to assess their teeth and jaw. They’ll also be checking for signs of any current or potential orthodontic issues. There are several common problems that can show up during these exams. We’ll outline these below, so keep reading to learn more!

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 have an impact on 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?

Here at Alba Orthodontics, we know that your child’s smile is as unique as they are! Every patient has their own specific needs and goals, and our doctors offer customized treatment plans for the best results. 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 cases that are more severe or complicated. 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.

InBrace behind the tooth braces

Like traditional braces, InBrace works by applying gentle yet continuous pressure on the teeth to help them shift into the desired positions over time. However, InBrace uses just a few robotically bent wires and braces behind the teeth to discreetly create a beautifully aligned smile instead of brackets on the front of the teeth. Because they’re placed on the back side of the teeth, they truly are an invisible treatment option! 

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

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 qualified orthodontists like Dr. Alba and Dr. Jeff! During your child’s evaluation, one of our doctors 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 And Correcting A Child's Misaligned Jaw

Get your child’s smile off to a great start with Alba Orthodontics

Correcting a child’s misaligned bite comes with many benefits. It can help prevent or eliminate and jaw pain and may also: 

  • reduce the risk of developing tooth decay and cavities
  • improve speech
  • reduce the risk of chipped or lost teeth
  • improve oral function
  • increase self-confidence
  • make eating, sleeping, and breathing easier!

If our doctors feel that it’s in your child’s best interest to wait for treatment, you’ll be invited to join our Kid’s Club program! We’ll monitor the way their smile is developing as they grow and let you know when they’re ready for the next step in their orthodontic journey. We provide these visits at no charge to you!  

You can feel confident that Alba Orthodontics will always do what’s best for your child. The treatment we recommend will always honor the trust that you’ve placed in us. To learn more about how our expert team can identify and treat misalignments, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation for your child!