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Children’s Orthodontics: What you need to Know

December 9, 2015

Young girl perfecting her smile with children's orthodonticsOver the past several decades, dentistry and general healthcare have undertaken a shift in priority. In the past, dentists and physicians emphasized treating problems after they occurred, but today, the focus is on preventive care to maintain optimal oral and whole body health. Years of research, training, and experience have shown it’s easier to stop a problem from happening than it is to correct damage after the fact. It’s no surprise that orthodontists have come to the same conclusion. For this reason, more young people than ever are receiving early orthodontic intervention to allow permanent teeth to develop in ideal alignment rather than shifting already developed smiles.

Frequently Asked Questions about Early Intervention Orthodontics

At What Age Should Children Receive an Early Orthodontic Evaluation?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, kids should receive their early orthodontic evaluation by age 7. Most children will not need intervention at this time, but any major developmental concerns will be apparent, and parents can begin planning and preparing for future treatment.

Why is Early Orthodontic Treatment Significant?

Early orthodontic intervention allows the dentist to correct major jaw and bite misalignment before permanent teeth have developed while the child’s bones are still growing and expanding to accommodate permanent teeth. This allows adult teeth to develop unimpeded. Most children will still need to wear traditional braces once permanent teeth have erupted, but the amount of wear time is decreased and children are significantly less likely to have future alignment concerns.

Why are Teeth Crooked?

There are numerous reasons why a child’s teeth may be crooked. Some of the most common factors include:

  • Extra teeth or crowded teeth
  • Thumb sucking
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Early loss of primary teeth
  • Tonsil or adenoid infection
  • Hereditary factors like large, missing, or wide spaced teeth and small jawbone

How do Teeth Realign?

Orthodontic treatment causes dental realignment by placing consistent pressure on teeth for an extended period of time. Traditional braces use brackets and wires to adjust pressure to necessary areas. This pressure gradually shifts teeth into alignment.

Will my Child be in Pain?

During the first day or two of treatment, patients may experience discomfort, but this typically lasts no more than 72 hours. Over the counter pain medications and ice packs can be used to manage pain during the initial days of treatment.

Find out More

If you’re interested in finding out more about children’s orthodontics, contact the friendly team at White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today. We’ll be happy to schedule a consultation, and answer any questions you may have.

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