Do Children Need Orthodontics?
Pediatric orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with how a child’s teeth are aligned or arranged. This is an essential part of oral health care for children because it determines how well the teeth work together to chew food and the overall appearance of the face.
Kids who get orthodontic care early are more likely to have healthy detention and beautiful smiles when they get older. In this post, we’ll explore the specifics of orthodontic care for kids and some of the things you should know about getting the right care for your child.
How Early Should a Child Get Orthodontic Care?
Like everything else for your kid, dental and orthodontic care is one of those things that is best started at an early age. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), children should get their first orthodontic checkup as early as age seven (7).
This is just a general guideline, and you can take your child to see an orthodontist earlier than this age if you suspect an orthodontic problem. At seven, a child’s dentition is a mix of baby teeth (their first set of teeth) and permanent teeth. Getting the teeth examined around this time makes it easier for the orthodontist to determine if they are developing properly or if there’s a likely orthodontic problem.
The orthodontist will also advise you on which line of treatment will work best for your child and when to begin. Usually, orthodontic treatment for kids does not begin until around age 9. Your child’s permanent teeth should be completely grown at this point, making orthodontic treatment possible.
Signs Your Child May Need Orthodontic Care
If something appears to be “off” or abnormal with your kid’s teeth, you don’t necessarily have to wait until the child turns seven years old to see an orthodontist. You can schedule a consultation with a dentist or pediatric orthodontist immediately to determine what’s wrong. The following are some of the warning signs that your child may require orthodontic care.
Early or Late Loss of Baby Teeth
While there are no specific time limits for how early or late a child should start growing permanent teeth, you should see an orthodontist if you suspect any of these developments is earlier or later than expected. A child orthodontist can tell you for sure when the changes are abnormal and what can be done to correct them.
Difficulty Chewing or Biting
If your child complains of pains or discomfort when biting or chewing food, you should visit a dental clinic. Although issues like this might be a sign of dental problems, they could also be caused by an underlying orthodontic problem.
Mouth breathing can be caused by an obstruction in the nasal passage. But sometimes, it might point to a problem with the structure of the facial bones, which can be addressed or corrected with orthodontic care.
Jaws Shifting or Clicking
When the teeth don’t align properly, it can cause the jaws to shift or click when chewing. This leads to jaw pain and other dental issues later in life. Orthodontists can evaluate the cause of improper alignment and recommend the right treatment.
Overbite, underbite, and other imbalances in the way the teeth, lips, and chin of your child come together are good reasons to visit an expert early for orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontic Treatment Options for Kids
If your child’s orthodontic checkup reveals an underlying problem with the structure of the teeth and jaws, the orthodontists may recommend different treatment options depending on the peculiarities of the case. This includes traditional braces, ceramic braces, and more modern options like Invisalign Aligners.
If your kid’s permanent teeth are yet to develop, the orthodontist may recommend an expander for the child. This is an orthodontic device designed to help the teeth grow correctly by expanding the upper dental arch. Expanders help with spacing issues with the jaws and may prevent more serious orthodontic treatment later in life.
Traditional braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatment options for kids. It is composed of stainless-steel brackets fixed to the teeth and held together by metal wires. Braces apply pressure to the teeth so that they slowly move into the correct position. It can be installed in front of the teeth or at the back (lingual braces).
Ceramic braces are just regular braces made with different materials. Instead of metals, clear ceramic materials are used. This makes the brace less obvious, which is great for the child’s confidence. They’re also softer on the teeth and reliable for children.
Invisalign for Children
This orthodontic treatment option involves the use of removable trays custom-made for your kid’s teeth. Invisalign is not usually a top recommendation for kids. Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners made from transparent plastic material. That’s because it requires a level of commitment and strict instruction that might be too much for a kid to handle.
They’re removable but must be worn for at least 22 hours of the day to achieve desired results. Your child will also have to learn to remove the braces before eating and avoid certain foods or drinks. This is often a lot of work for kids, which is why Invisalign is commonly recommended for adults and teenagers. With close monitoring, children may also be able to use Invisalign.
How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment for Children Last?
Usually, kids that need orthodontic treatment might have to wear braces for about 18 to 24 months on average. Note that this depends on the specific peculiarities and complexity of the case. Your orthodontist will provide a likely estimate for the treatment after evaluating the case and carrying out necessary tests.
Orthodontics for Children at OMG Smiles
OMG Smiles is the leading Waterbury Family Orthodontist that provides dental and orthodontic care for patients of all ages. We have professionals that specialize in orthodontic treatment for kids.
Whether you suspect an orthodontic issue with your kid’s teeth or simply want to schedule your child’s first orthodontic evaluation, you should visit our orthodontic clinic. We’re the local orthodontist you can trust with your child’s treatment. Contact us online or call now to schedule a visit with an orthodontist in Waterbury – 508-348-7178.