When does my child need to see the orthodontist?
Every child's growth is different. Your child's dental development will be monitored by their pediatric dentist at each check up appointment. We will evaluate your child's occlusion, crowding, bite problems, and jaw discrepancy. If needed with can intervene with minor early orthodontic care to help guide the teeth or even refer your child for a complete orthodontic evaluation. While many kids with minor crowding can wait until most of the adult teeth have erupted, some children will require braces or treatment a little earlier.
My child still has baby teeth, why do they need braces or early orthodontics?
Early orthodontics, sometimes called phase I, can benefit your child in many ways. In addition, to enhancing your child's smile and appearance, starting early can provide a guide or space for erupting teeth. This can help prevent crossbites from developing, sometimes prevent the need for extractions later, and help simplify complete orthodontic care when they are older. Straight teeth are also easier to keep clean, thus helping to prevent cavities and gum problems. Some problems, such as uneven jaw growth, are more easily corrected while your child is young and their growth more easily influenced. If not treated early, some issues can only be corrected by jaw surgery later in life.
Does early orthodontics mean full braces?
No. Early orthodontics can be something as simple as wearing a retainer to correct a single tooth cross bite. Other children will benefit more from fixed braces. The pediatric dentist can discuss the different options that would be best for your child.
Why are my child's teeth crowded?
Crowding is often inherited. If the child has a small jaw and relatively larger teeth, they will have crowding. Sometimes, early loss of baby teeth or habits (prolonged pacifier or digit sucking) can influence the shape of the jaw and also create orthodontic needs.
What should my child do to take care of their teeth with braces or an appliance?
Your child should maintain their normal brushing and flossing habits. If your child has braces, extra brushing after meals will help prevent gum disease. With a removable appliance, your child should remove and brush it on a daily basis.
Are the appliances or braces uncomfortable? Can they eat everything?
With any orthodontic appliance or braces, there will be some getting used to it. Most children adapt quickly and hardly notice it is there after a few days. With some appliances, speech may be altered for a few days. As for diet, your child should avoid sticky foods (gum, taffy, some sticky candies) and large hard foods (such as peanuts or chewing ice). Aside from this, there is not much that needs to avoided in terms of diet. Your child will be able to participate in normal activities and sports. If your child plays in sports in which they may get hit in the mouth, it may be advisable to have a mouth guard made. This can be discussed with your pediatric dentist.