Your child’s dentist is trained to identify issues at an early age and will refer a child to an orthodontist at the appropriate time. Your child’s first permanent molars and incisors usually come in by age seven and crossbites, crowding and other problems can then be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, possibly avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. For most teens, they are motivated by the outcome of a beautiful smile.
Your child's baby teeth have some big responsibilities. Until they reach their adolescents, their primary teeth will not only help them bite, chew and speak correctly, but also assist in guiding the permanent teeth underneath them into their proper position. In fact, the function of baby teeth is to hold the space for the adult teeth. By placing separators between their teeth, the spacers create enough room so that the baby teeth can fall out on their own.
Some orthodontic conditions are simply easier to correct if they’re corrected early. Knowing that your child might need corrective dental work, or not, simply offers peace of mind. Interceptive orthodontic treatment is all about preventing more severe problems later on. It provides the opportunity for an orthodontist to have control over where the permanent teeth come in by addressing the structure of the jaw and teeth while the primary teeth are still in the mouth. By age seven, your child’s mouth has grown enough and has enough sound structure to know how it will develop as the permanent teeth start to erupt.
Once your child’s braces come off, you'll be free of bands and brackets. Your child will able to eat what they want and run their tongue over smooth, clean teeth. But, remember that they’re not quite done with orthodontic treatment yet. The next phase, called retention, is a critical follow-through stage that typically involves wearing an orthodontic appliance called a retainer. Several different kinds of retainers are available, all of which are custom-made just for your child.
Retainers are used to keep the teeth in place once your child’s braces are removed. It takes time for their teeth to settle into their new position. A retainer prevents their teeth from shifting. Some retainers may be removable. Others are fixed or bonded behind their teeth. Similar to braces, retainers can make a statement if your child chooses. There are glow-in-the-dark retainers or retainers customized to their liking. Teeth are like the rest of the body in that they have a tendency to change. Once your child stops wearing the retainer, slight changes to the teeth could happen.
Call us today to schedule your child’s orthodontic consultation.