Children and orthodontics
About Children and orthodontics
Most orthodontic problems for young patients are corrected in a single phase of treatment around the ages of 11-13 years old. However, for some specific conditions, early treatment can greatly minimize the complexity of later treatment and correct abnormal jaw positions that can worsen during pubertal growth. Because the jawbone is soft and still growing, a young patient’s smile is particularly receptive to re-alignment.
When Should You See an Orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a visit to the orthodontist at age 7 (or earlier if oral or facial irregularities are present). Early intervention allows us to guide the growth of the jawbone, ensuring that permanent teeth come in straight. We do this by creating more space where teeth are crowded and regulating the width of the upper and lower jaw. This helps to avoid impacted teeth and other costly and painful complications later on in life.
Specific treatments that benefit from early treatment are:
- Crossbites (upper teeth are positioned to the inside of the lower teeth when biting)
- Severe crowding
- Social problems due to tooth positions
- Abnormal jaw growth (underbites, severe overjet)
- Early loss of baby teeth
- Ectopic teeth (molars that get stuck underneath a baby tooth)
- Thumb or finger habits
- Open bites (teeth can’t come together when biting)
- Abnormal tooth eruption
What Causes Misalignment?
Most bite issues are inherited, but they can also be caused or exacerbated by habits and behaviors that are common with young children including finger sucking, overuse of pacifiers, poor nutrition and poor oral hygiene.
To determine if your child will benefit from braces, we will first meet for a free initial exam. If indicated, this is followed by taking a panoramic X-ray, a digital scan of the teeth (no gooey impressions at Woodlake Orthodontics!!), and photos of the teeth and face. These steps help us to decide on the best treatment option for your child.
Braces are common among children. For this reason, the embarrassment factor is low when compared to adults, and therefore we often use traditional metal braces on children. Colorful bands are added, giving kids a new and fun way to express themselves! However, we are also treating many young children with Invisalign®. Please ask to see if your child is a candidate!
We are here to make your child’s orthodontic experience as comfortable and successful as possible. Please reach out to us for more information or for a free consultation.