Regulatory agencies recommend getting an orthodontic screening for your child by the age of 7. At this age, the teeth and jaws have developed enough to give your dentist the ability to see the potential for any serious bite problems that may develop in the future. Typically, treatment is not necessary at such a young age, but a screening gives the parents and dentist the flexibility to monitor the evolution of the child and decide on the best method of treatment, if necessary. With time on your side, it’s easier to plan ahead to confront any serious problems early.
Why is orthodontics needed at a young age?
Scientific research studies indicate that orthodontic problems can be more easily addressed and rectified if the patient’s skeleton is growing and flexible, as in children. The mouth can be monitored and adjusted for the eventual push-through of the adult teeth by clearing up any skeletal issues at a young age. If adult teeth have adequate space to erupt it is more likely they will come in straight. Consequently, if the teeth erupt fairly straight, their tendency to become crooked again after the braces come off is reduced significantly. After permanent adult teeth have pushed through, usually from age 12 to 14, complete braces are placed for the final alignment and bite. Therefore, the final stages of treatment are easy on the patient. This last phase of orthodontic treatment usually lasts 12 to 18 months and is not begun until all of the adult teeth have erupted.
Scheduling orthodontic treatments in these two steps give excellent results, typically allowing the doctor to completely avoid extraction of adult teeth or any jaw surgery. To recap:
- Step 1 is carried out when some of the baby teeth are still present.
- Step 2 happens after all of the permanent adult teeth have erupted.
What causes teeth to be misaligned?
If teeth have grown in too crowded, your child has had a habit of thumb sucking, pushing with the tongue, or had a premature loss of their baby teeth, Teeth can become misaligned and require orthodontics. Other hereditary factors such as extra teeth, large-sized teeth, missing teeth, spacing, and jaw size – can all contribute to crowded teeth.
How do teeth correct during treatment?
Tooth realignment results from applying consistent light pressure over a period of time, through the use of an orthodontic appliance. The most common type of gear is braces, which are brackets attached to the teeth, connected and held tightly by wires. Over time these archwires are adjusted and replaced which exerts pressure correctly on the teeth. You can expect that your child may require additional headgear, elastics, a positioner or a retainer over time. Typical orthodontic appointments are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart to allow the teeth time to move.
Will it hurt?
There may be discomfort when the teeth are first moved. This can last between 24 to 72 hours, and most patients report less pain as the treatments evolve. Over-the-counter pain medicines such as Tylenol or Advil can usually suffice for any pain.
To schedule an orthodontic screening contact Summer Kids Dental:
Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):