Thinking about whether your child requires braces? You’ve come to the right place. Orthodontic treatment can be a very important part of your child’s oral health care. We’re here to answer some of the questions you might have regarding orthodontic treatment for your child.

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What is the purpose of orthodontic treatment?

The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite, which is part tooth alignment and part jaw position. When jaws and teeth fit in correctly, they are able to function in a proper manner. This promotes good oral and general physical health. There is always the added advantage that orthodontic treatment also brings out a beautiful smile.

How will orthodontic treatment help my child?

Orthodontic treatment will help your child to bite and chew in a healthy manner, which will also contribute to clear speech. It helps your child’s jaw to function properly and also look nice. An attractive smile is a pleasant side effect of orthodontic treatment, and can have emotional benefits. Self-confidence and self-esteem improves as orthodontic treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion. It improves your child’s overall health as straight teeth are less prone to decay, gum disease and injury.

What’s the right age for orthodontic treatment?

Ideally, it is recommended that your child gets an orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of 7, when the permanent teeth begin to erupt. Timing is also determined by the type of problem that the child has or may be developing, and the child’s stage of dental development. Some may require tooth movement only, while others may need help with guiding the growth of their jaws, or to correct a abnormal habit that can re-shape the bone. There are some orthodontists who recommend an interceptive approach. This usually involves the use of dental appliances when the child is younger and still has most of his or her baby teeth. Then, once a child has mostly adult teeth, a second phase of treatment can begin, which normally includes braces. It is this second part of treatment that might be shorter than a traditional course of braces. This is thanks to the early interceptive treatment and the benefits of preventive orthodontics.

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Where did my child’s orthodontic problems come from?

Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Some are acquired, developing over time by an abnormal habit such as, sucking the thumb or fingers, mouth breathing, abnormal swallowing, or dental disease, poor dental hygiene, early or late loss of baby teeth, accidents and poor nutrition. Whatever the cause, orthodontists are usually able to treat most conditions successfully.

Problems to watch out for in your child.

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Won’t my child’s teeth straighten out as they grow?

Unfortunately, your child’s teeth will not straighten out as he or she grows. The space available for the permanent teeth does not increase as one grows.Untreated orthodontic problems can become worse, and more difficult to treat as a child gets older. Untreated problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, broken front teeth and loss of bone tissue that holds teeth in place.

Isn’t 7 too young to get braces?

Around 7 years of age, your child’s permanent teeth begin to erupt. A check-up at this age will help your orthodontist understand if a problem exists or is developing. Remember, there is a lot of difference between a check-up and actually requiring braces treatment. Usually, your orthodontist might suggest a wait and watch approach, with a periodic follow-up in case any developing problem is detected. Also, not all orthodontic problems require correction with the help of braces.

What if my child is older than 7 – is it too late for a check-up?

If your child is older than 7, it is not too late for a check-up. Should treatment be needed, keep in mind that many patients begin treatment between the ages of 9 and 16, depending on their physiological development and treatment needs. Orthodontists are usually able to treat most conditions successfully.

Should we wait to see the orthodontist until my child has all of his/her permanent teeth?

No. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in could make correction of some orthodontic problems more difficult. Orthodontic treatment for jaw related problems may require treatment when the patient is in the growing stages. Some things cannot be accomplished once the face and jaws are no longer growing.

What is early orthodontic treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment, also known as Phase One treatment, helps in correcting bite related problems as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. Early treatment may also help to make extra room in the mouth for the permanent teeth to be properly placed as they begin to erupt.

Early orthodontic treatment begins when a child’s jaw bones are still soft. They do not harden until children reach their late teens. As the bones are still pliable, corrective procedures work faster and more effectively than they do for teens and adults. Appropriate early treatment is an effective interceptive measure that lays the foundation for a healthy and well-functioning mouth in adulthood.

Sometimes, it is extremely obvious, like when you have trouble biting, speaking or chewing or if your teeth are protruding, crowded or too spaced out. Other times, the misalignment of your teeth may be minor to notice, including clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth or mouth breathing.

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What is teenage orthodontics?

Phase II of orthodontic treatment is for teens who received Phase I already or didn’t require Phase 1 treatment and have most of their permanent teeth. The goal of this phase is to ideally position all of the permanent teeth in order to maximize appearance and function.

Tween group

If you’re still unsure of when to schedule your first orthodontic treatment, reach out to us. We’d be happy to share what we believe to be the best solution to get a beautiful smile based on your individual situation.

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