Conditions + Treatments

Malocclusion in Children

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Overview

Malocclusion refers to any degree of irregular contact of the teeth of your child's upper jaw with the teeth of the lower jaw. This includes overbites, underbites and crossbites, as well as crowding of your child's teeth.

While about 90 percent of school-aged children have some degree of malocclusion, only about 10 to 15 percent of these have severe malocclusion that requires treatment. Most children seek treatment of malocclusion for cosmetic — rather than medical — reasons.

Is orthognathic (jaw) surgery right for your child?

A well-proportioned bite occurs when all of your child's upper and lower teeth are correctly aligned and he can bite together evenly. Jaw surgery corrects malocclusion that results from the underlying bone disharmony. Your child's front upper teeth should overlap slightly with his front lower teeth when he bites. If your child's jaw is not properly aligned, he may have difficulty chewing or pronouncing specific sounds clearly.

The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program at Boston Children's Hospital works in conjunction with our orthodontists in the treatment of children requiring orthognathic surgery.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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