These are the dental photographs of a 13-year old girl who came with her father for just routine dental check-up. She was quite conscious about her looks because she herself and even her father felt that her upper jaw is coming out.
When she told me that her upper lip aches every now and then, I could not find any reason for that. So, I just told them not to pay any attention to this pain – don’t think about it and it would go away. Then her father told me that she always keeps on pressing her upper lip with his fingers – and sort of this obsession so deep that her upper lip starts aching with persistent finger pressure.
Obviously she was doing this thing to ensure that “upper jaw” is pushed back backwards. I told them at the first place, there is no problem with her upper jaw – and had there been some problem, it would not have got rectified with such maneuvering.
Now, you can see in her photographs that when she is sitting just relaxed, her upper teeth are showing while when she gets conscious about her “big teeth’, so obviously stretches her lips to cover the teeth. Obviously, this is a tensed-up appearance.
You can see her side profile in one of the photographs here. From the front view, teeth appear quite ok though a shot taken from a different angle reveals that there is some irregularity which requires correction.
What is the purpose of putting the case of this 13 year old girl – in fact, her father had come to me to know whether she needs to get braces for pushing her teeth a bit inwards. I was myself not sure about it – honestly I conveyed it to her father that she should be taken to an Orthodontist (dentist who specializes in Orthodontics i.e. straightening of crooked/irregular etc). His father told me that sometime back they had visited any dentist and he had also advised them to consult an orthodontist.
You see medical science is an exact science – no guess work, no hit and trial is permissible at times particularly when we dealing with young children. These are vital decisions which at times are required to be taken by a specialist who is quite experienced to advise such patients properly.
There are some observations for this case – lip seal of this girl is incompetent which means her upper and lower lips don’t close at rest —rather she has to make a conscious effort to close her lips. This short upper lip is definitely contributing to this “problem” – I have advised her to do lip stretching exercise but I am not sure whether just this myofunctional exercise would be of any help.
Secondly, such children are sometimes found to be mouth-breather – a check-up by ENT specialist would rule out any obstruction in her respiratory passage after which an orthodontist would take out and advise her to go in for braces or not.
I don’t know what would be best for this 13-year old girl. She has been referred to an orthodontist. This post just reminds parents of teenage kids that whenever kids become conscious about their looks because of their teeth, they should be seen by a dentist and/or an orthodontist who because of his experience in the field is the best person to advise in such cases.