Teething: The Sequel (Or It Could Just Be Malocclusion)

All parents will have to deal with teething and that discomfort that your child experiences when their first set of deciduous (baby) teeth begins to erupt from their gums. You deal with it as best as you can, with soothing cold foods and age-appropriate pain medication. Once upon a time, parents would have simply rubbed a small amount of liquor onto the child's gums, but that's generally viewed as being unwise, even though it might have been rather effective. But it's only something that must be endured once, isn't it? So what happens when your child once again begins to feel discomfort as their adult teeth grow?

Pain and Discomfort

If your child begins to complain about pain and discomfort during the process of tooth replacement (deciduous teeth giving way to permanent teeth), it might be a sign of malocclusion, which is also simply known as crowded teeth. Your child's teeth are developing in a manner which begins to crowd their jaw, often meaning that there is insufficient space for the teeth to develop in a properly straight and aligned manner. 

Signs of Potential Malocclusion

What should you be looking for?

  • Your child might rapidly develop a lisp.
  • Discomfort might be particularly pronounced while eating.
  • They might complain of pain in the soft tissues inside their mouth, caused by them inadvertently biting the linings of their cheeks.

A Professional Inspection

None of these symptoms are conclusive, so a visit to the dentist will be necessary. You might also wish to inspect their mouth yourself for further clarity. It could be obvious that their teeth (and overall bite) are not correctly aligned, as in the teeth might be at a noticeable angle. Their gums might also appear to be red and irritated. What will your dentist do?

Orthodontic Assistance

Your dentist will likely refer you to an early orthodontist, who specialises in pediatric orthodontics. One of the key roles of an early orthodontist is to intervene in cases of malocclusion, which generally means that your child needs braces in order to correct the improper angle of tooth development, which will subsequently correct the overcrowding problem and the associated discomfort.

It's quite likely that the early signs of that bothersome crowded mouth will be spotted by your child's dentist during one of their regular appointments. But if your child should begin to display any of the symptoms typically associated with malocclusion, it's smart to schedule an additional checkup with your dentist.