I am frequently asked if there is a link between kids with crooked teeth who need braces and scoliosis. The answer to the question is YES! Several studies have been done on this topic and there is a strong evidence to support that jaw and tooth deformities, or malocclusions as they are called, are linked to developing scoliosis.
Malocclusions have several varieties and classifications, some looked at from the front and some looked at from the side. Frontal issues look at alignment of the bite as viewed from the front. If the upper teeth on one side bite inside the lower teeth while the other side bites normally then that is a unilateral cross bite. If both sides of the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth, that is termed a bilateral cross bite. Both indicate a deformity of the upper hard palate.
Looking from the side there are 4 classes termed by Edward Angle the originator of Orthodontics.
Class I – is a good bite, everything comes together normally
Class II – 1 – is termed an over jet , or the classic buck teeth. Upper jaw to far out over the lower jaw.
Class II – 2 – is similar to over jet, but the top teeth are bent out instead of the upper jaw being too far forward.
Class III – is the lower jaw is forward of the upper teeth, like the Jay Leno profile.
Studies have shown that kids with an Asymmetric Class II malocclusion have a 30% chance of developing scoliosis. No one can say if the malocclusion causes the scoliosis or if the scoliosis causes the malocclusion but there is evidence to show that some cases of scoliosis have improved with orthodontic intervention. Also, a study done on rabbits showed that when a crossbite is forced into the jaw of a rabbit a scoliosis developed very quickly and when the crossbite was corrected the scoliosis also corrected.
So the take away message of this information is both scoliosis and malocclusions in the jaw are a skeletal, growth plate issue. If you have problems with growth plates in one region you are likely to have problems with growth plates in other regions. I would say if you are a parent of child with jaw and tooth issues it is a good idea to also keep a close eye on your child’s spine to detect scoliosis as early as possible. Should you detect a possible scoliosis and you want confirmation or you are looking for treatment options then contact Correct Scoliosis, a division of Pivonka Chiropractic in Gilbert AZ, and we will help you anyway we can. Call (480) 892-0022 today!
Dr. Pivonka, D.C.