Over the years, Coppe + Sears has helped hundreds of Lexington families improve their dental health. Because we specialize in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, our practice has extensive experience with identifying and correcting a child’s misaligned jaw along with any issues a young patient may be experiencing! 

Our office sees many children who are dealing with a misaligned bite, which may cause jaw pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. As our resident orthodontist, Dr. Chad Sears is often able to catch these issues during an early childhood evaluation, something the American Association of Orthodontists recommends for every young child to ensure their bite is developing properly.

During this initial appointment with Dr. Sears, he will perform a thorough oral examination to assess the child’s teeth and jaw. He will also be looking for signs of any existing or potential orthodontic issues. There are several common problems he sees during these exams, which we will outline in more detail below.  

Crowded teeth

A good dental hygiene routine is essential for maintaining oral health, but crowded teeth can interfere with this 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 a variety of reasons, including genetics, thumb sucking, and extended use of a bottle or pacifier. When a child has a bit 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 gap in their smile because of congenitally missing teeth. Others may have lost a permanent tooth 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

When a child has an open bite, the upper and lower rows of the front teeth do not touch or close when they are 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

In a deep overbite, the lower teeth recede so far behind the upper teeth that they bite into the roof of the mouth. The upper front teeth also overlap the lower front teeth. 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. A deep overbite can also have an impact on the shape and appearance of a child’s face.


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.

Identifying & Correcting A Child's Misaligned Jaw


Also known as “buck teeth,” an overjet occurs when the top front teeth protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. Overjets are most effectively treated when diagnosed early, as this allows us to guide the eruption of their permanent teeth.

Treatment for misaligned jaws

Every child has a unique smile with specific needs, which is why our practice offers customized treatment plans for each patient. These plans are built around their individual needs and goals for the best results, and may include one or more orthodontic appliances. This will be discussed with parents in detail during their child’s evaluation. Our practice offers patients the following treatment options.

Damon passive self-ligating braces

Damon braces are similar to traditional metal braces, but use a gentle sliding door to secure the wire instead of elastics or metal ligatures. This passive door allows the wire of the braces to slide back and forth within the bracket, resulting in less friction and greater comfort. Damon braces often achieve excellent results in less time than traditional braces. They can also be customized with fun colors for patients who want to add a pop of personality to their treatment.

Damon Clear braces work in the same way as the metal braces described above, but they are crafted from a high-quality ceramic material that blends in with the patient’s natural tooth color. Unlike older clear braces, Damon Clear braces do not stain or take on the color of dark foods and beverages.

Clear aligner therapy

These days, there are multiple clear aligners on the orthodontic market, including Invisalign and Clear Correct, among others. The innovative systems are made of a series of clear aligners that are almost invisible and entirely removable. The thin plastic material is smooth, and the customized design ensures a comfortable fit. 

Clear aligners need to be worn 20-22 hours each day throughout treatment, and each aligner must be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks. This allows them to keep up with the movements the teeth are making. Failure to follow these guidelines can result in longer treatment times and subpar results. 

While many patients can benefit from clear aligner therapy, it is not ideal for every type of bite problem. During a complimentary consultation with Dr. Sears, he will review the patient’s unique bite issues and discuss all of the pertinent treatment options. This guarantees each patient receives the best treatment option for their unique smile. 

Identifying & Correcting A Child's Misaligned Jaw

Healthy smiles start early at Coppe + Sears

Correcting a misaligned bite is an effective solution for preventing and eliminating jaw pain, but treatment can be beneficial in other ways as well. This includes: 

  • a reduced risk of tooth decay and cavities
  • improved speech
  • a reduced risk of chipped or lost teeth
  • improved oral function
  • increased self-confidence
  • an easier time eating, sleeping, and breathing

At Coppe + Sears, we offer patients a variety of efficient and affordable treatment options. Our expert team aims to provide every patient with a rewarding orthodontic experience, from the first appointment to the last! To learn more about how Dr. Sears can identify and treat misalignments, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation in our Lexington office.