ORTHODONTICS FOR CHILDREN
The majority of patients undergoing orthodontic care are children and teens. When kids are young their jaws are constantly growing to accommodate new teeth. It is during this time that the teeth are easily moved, allowing for a shorter treatment time – especially in patients who undergo early treatment. Braces, retainers, and spacers are just some fo the orthodontic appliances commonly used in children’s orthodontics. Although not all kids need orthodontic treatment, all kids need exams at an early age.
Signs Your Child May Need Orthodontics
Some signs that a child may eventually need orthodontics include:
- Jaw is disproportionate to the face
- Has a habit of frequent thumb-sucking
- Chronically breathes from the mouth rather than the nose
- Primary teeth fall out too soon or too late
- Exhibits malocclusion (overbite/underbite)
- Visible crowding
Early Screenings are Best
Did you know that children should have their first orthodontic screening no later than age 7? This orthodontic evaluation is used to identify jaw irregularities and developmental complications that could indicate the need for orthodontic treatment in the future. Early screenings make it possible to get early treatment, with some children beginning progressive treatments as early as age 7.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to bring my child to an orthodontist?
If your child is at least 7 years old or is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Steps can be taken to correct a bad bite, fill in gaps, and straighten teeth all before your child reaches the teen years.
What should I expect at my child's first orthodontist appointment?
Your child’s first orthodontic screening will include a visual examination as well as maxillofacial x-rays. You will be asked questions about your child’s habits, such as thumb and finger-sucking. Based on the results of the analysis, the orthodontist will discuss options and timeframes for treatment if applicable.
Will I need to follow any special instructions if my child is fitted for a dental appliance?
Yes. If your child is fitted for a fixed orthodontic appliance, such as braces, you will need to follow careful instructions to ensure the device is not damaged or broken. This includes monitoring your child’s diet to ensure it does not include hard foods, candies, popcorn kernels, or anything else that could cause damage. You’ll also need to ensure your child properly brushes and flosses around the appliance to protect the teeth from decay during treatment.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
Young patients may need to be referred for a sleep study prior to their treatment if the 3D cat scan indicates compromised airways. Tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy and expansion appliances may be recommended if the growth of bones does not allow for all teeth to be present in the mouth. At Laraway Family Dentistry, we believe that extractions of permanent teeth in order to carry out orthodontic treatment needs to be avoided. Contact us to make an appointment to learn more and find out whether orthodontics is right for your child.