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Dentistry/Class 3 underbiite in a 5 year old


My granddaughter was referred to an orthodontist following a checkup for her under bite.  According to the orthodontist, it was a class 3 and he is recommending some type of braces as well as surgery.  I did not go to the appointment with my son and daughter-in-law so I don't have the whole story.  They have a follow up appointment on Friday which I plan to attend.  The child does have an under bite but whether or not it is a class 3, I cannot say.

What is really bothering me about this is - the doctor's office is calling every few days wanting a decision about going forward with the process.  Another thing - since the child is only five, is correcting something like this at her age going to take care of the problem.  Most everything I have read shows this being done with 17-18 year olds.  What do you think?  I think we at least need to get a second opinion.

What you are referring, an "underbite", is also referred to as a Class 3 bite relationship. It occurs when the lower jaw, the mandible, grows excessively forward creating a prominent jaw and an abnormal bite. Depending on the degree of the problem it may be reduced by initiating early orthopedic treatment at age 5. This treatment involves the use of a chin cup headgear which can restrain lower jaw growth while the upper jaw "catches up".The chin cup appliance is usually worn at night and treatment lasts for several years while there is active jaw growth. In some more severe cases treatment may also require jaw surgery which is usually done in the late teen years after jaw growth is almost complete.


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Dr. Randolph Myerson


Please limit your inquiry to questions about orthodontics (braces) and children's dentistry. I am both an Orthodontist and a Pediatric Dentist, having been trained in both of these dental specialty fields. Orthodontics is the dental specialty that treats problems of tooth, bite and jaw alignment using braces and removable appliances. Pediatric Dentistry is the dental specialty also known as dentistry for children, which deals specifically with the dental problems of this special age group from infants to adolescents. I am also experienced in Forensic Dentistry, the application of dentistry to law enforcement and identification using dental records.


I have been in the private practice of orthodontics and pediatric dentistry for over 20 years. Prior to that I served for three years on the Cleft Palate and Cranio-facial Reconstruction team at Children''s Hospital of Philadelphia and was an Assistant Professor of Dentistry at University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. I also served as a dentist in the U.S.Air Force, stationed at Andrews AFB in Washington, DC.

I am a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and a member of the American Association of Orthodontics, as well as a member of the American Dental Association and the Dental Society of the State of New York.

I received my BA in Biology from Frankin & Marshall College in 1969, and my dental degree from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 1973. In 1978 I received both my Certificate in Orthodontics from University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and my Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from Children''s Hospital of Philadelphia after completing a three year Teaching Fellowship in Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry in 1978.

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