When your child’s adult teeth start outnumbering the baby teeth you may begin to have questions about whether orthodontic treatment will be needed. Since tooth placement is mostly inherited, a good indicator for proper tooth alignment is family history. If one or both parents needed braces when they were young, there’s a good chance the child will need braces, as well. If your child’s teeth are visibly crooked, come to Platinum Dental Care and we will assess his or her development and tooth placement to determine whether the need is there.
What is the Ideal Age for Dental Braces?
Although braces can be used at any age, the recommended age for orthodontic intervention is between 9-13 years of age. Why this time? During these years, the head and jaw are still growing, which makes teeth more conducive to movement. It’s easier to coax teeth into their proper state of alignment when there is ample room for the teeth to shift. Overall, getting braces in childhood can make treatment time faster and more effective. In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be of benefit between 7-9 years of age, to move the teeth into proper positions as they come in, as opposed to after.
Are Braces Always Necessary?
If your child’s teeth are noticeably crooked or crowded, not having them straightened may become a health issue later in life. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean, for one. You are more likely to develop cavities and signs of gum disease if crowded teeth make it challenging to brush and floss them thoroughly.
Unresolved bite issues can be even more problematic, as they can lead to damage to the teeth, enamel erosion, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and bruxism. There is even some scientific evidence that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be connected to poor bite alignment. Giving your child the gift of a properly aligned smile will boost his/her self-confidence and ensures he/she will have the best chance at avoiding oral health problems in the future.
Can Children Get Invisalign?
Invisalign is a great option for teens and adults with mild-to-moderate crowding and misalignment, but it’s not recommended for children. The jaw should be finished growing before Invisalign can be considered—and even then, it’s not the right option for everyone. Invisalign cannot correct problems with bite (such as overbite, under bite, and cross bite) and it cannot move with teeth that need to be shifted vertically or rotated.
Beyond its limitations, Invisalign also requires a high level of compliance in order to be effective. Younger children are not always able to keep up with the strict rules that must be followed to maintain oral health during Invisalign treatments. For example, the aligners must be worn for most of the hours of the day, you cannot eat when wearing them, and you must brush and floss before putting them back in after eating. Traditional braces are far more appropriate for pre-teens and children, as they allow them more freedom.
What are the Most Commonly Used Orthodontic Treatments?
Modern orthodontics has many tools for achieving proper tooth alignment in growing children. Some of the more common treatments your child may need include:
Traditional Metal Bracket-and-Wire Braces – This system attaches metal brackets to each tooth, and an arch wire is threaded through each bracket with the use of elastic bands. By tightening the wire, gentle pressure is applied to encourage teeth to shift positions.
Self-Ligating Braces – This system is very similar to traditional bracket-and-wire braces but does require the use of elastics. This means fewer trips to the dentist and less chair-time for the patient.
Palatal Expanders – This orthodontic appliance is used to gradually widen a narrow palate or arch to create more space in the upper jaw. This helps the top and bottom teeth fit together better and is often needed in anticipation of braces.
Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD) – This device is a very small titanium implant (a pin) that is used in conjunction with metal braces. It is placed in the jaw to serve as an anchor point, so wires and elastics can be attached to apply proper pressure to the teeth.
Orthodontics at Bathurst & Lawrence in Toronto
There are many special devices and appliances that can be used to address your child’s unique needs as an orthodontic patient. When you bring your child in for an orthodontic consultation at Platinum Dental Care in Lawrence Park, we will examine your child’s teeth, take x-rays and other diagnostic scans, and explain the issues we find. To learn more about children’s orthodontics, contact us today.