Common Orthodontic Treatments for Children
You may have noticed children are getting braces at younger ages than in the past. In fact, it’s now recommended that children begin orthodontic assessment and treatment by age 7. You might think it’s impossible to tell, at this age, whether your child’s adult teeth will come in misaligned (maloccluded) or not. His or her mouth may seem like a chaotic hodge-podge of teeth—all different sizes, coming and going at the same time. But there are actually a number of conditions that can be identified by about age 7 or 8.
Furthermore, early orthodontic intervention is a great way to ensure teeth come in straight and that bite issues are corrected before they have a chance to cause problems for your child. It’s easier to guide teeth into proper alignment when those teeth are still developing, and as young jawbones are still growing.
Straight teeth are also easier to keep clean; that means fewer cavities and healthier teeth for life. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Bring your child to Platinum Dental Care and we’ll give you an honest assessment of whether your child would benefit from orthodontics.
Common Problems with Children’s Teeth
Overbite or Under bite: These bite problems may seem only cosmetic, but they can actually lead to problems chewing and speaking correctly. If not corrected, an overbite or under bite can also lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder later in life, which can cause clenching/gnashing (bruxism) and chronic pain.
A well-aligned bite is a healthy bite. If your child’s top teeth protrude farther out than the bottom arch or if he appears buck-toothed, an overbite may be present. Under bites are present when the bottom teeth extend farther than the top arch, much like the teeth of a bull dog.
Crowding: Crowding of teeth tends be determined by genetics. If both of a child’s parents needed braces to correct an overcrowded mouth, then there’s a good chance your child will need them, too.
A good way to determine whether your child’s teeth are crowded is to watch him as he flosses his teeth. Are there small spaces between all the teeth, or are they tightly packed together? (Does the dental floss make a popping sound when it moves in and out between teeth?) A sure sign of crowding is when teeth seem to be overlapping each other, or appear to be on top of one another.
Premature Loss of Baby Teeth: Don’t be ashamed if your child has lost baby teeth early due to tooth decay. It’s not uncommon for children to have baby teeth extracted when decay progresses quickly. Children are naturally more susceptible to decay due their thinner enamel, smaller teeth, and less reliable brushing and flossing habits.
However, when a baby molar is extracted, for example, the adjacent teeth will drift slightly to fill the gap, leaving too little space for the adult tooth to take its place when it comes in, years later. An orthodontic spacer may be needed to keep that space open and ensure baby teeth stay where they should, until the adult tooth replaces the lost tooth.
How Orthodontic Braces Work
Bracket and wire braces work by slowly applying pressure to the teeth, and coaxing them into new positions. Brackets are affixed to the front of each tooth, and wires are threaded through the brackets. These wires are strategically tightened each month, based on a unique plan for realigning your child’s teeth. The brackets and wires keep your child’s teeth in the proper placement for adult teeth to come in with the ideal alignment for his or her mouth and jaw.
Does My Child Really Need to Straighten His Teeth?
Given the number of adult patients we have seeking orthodontic treatments, we encourage parents to consider the benefits of braces at the youngest age possible. Treatments tend to be more efficient and more conservative when adult teeth are still developing and when bones are still growing. It is easier to coax teeth into proper alignment as they come in, rather than after. Braces will be less painful and cause less disruption in your child’s life if done earlier, and will fill him or her with the confidence of a healthy and beautiful smile during the teenage years.
Dental Braces For Kids At Lawrence Plaza, Toronto
If you think your child may benefit from dental braces, please contact Platinum Dental Care for an appointment. We will assess your child’s overall oral health, and determine whether orthodontics are needed.