My son’s upper front teeth are behind the lower teeth when he closes his mouth. He is eight. Does he need to get this corrected now or can we wait for all his milk teeth to fall?

At eight years of age, the upper front teeth should be the permanent incisors. Normally, these teeth should be in front of the bottom incisors when the upper and lower jaws touch.

If an upper single tooth or teeth bite behind the lower teeth, this condition is called anterior crossbite. It has to be treated by an orthodontist or paediatric dentist at the earliest.

The anterior crossbite of a single tooth can be usually corrected by an appliance that would move the tooth forward into the correct position. This would enable the upper jaw to develop normally.

There is a misconception that irregularities or malalignment of teeth need not be corrected until all permanent teeth except third molars erupt, at 12 to 13 years. This can cause serious problems, and can lead to permanent deformation of the jaws.

Ideally, every child should have his first orthodontic consultation at the age of seven.