Did you know that just because your child has gaps in their teeth they may not need to get braces? It's normal for children to have gaps. This allows space for the adult teeth to come in straight and normal.
If your child has crooked teeth and/or tightly spaced teeth there is a chance your child will eventually need braces. The real question is when?
Why Does My Child Need Braces?
There are different reasons why your child could end up needing braces. Your child is unique in every way, and that includes their teeth. They will develop and change during their childhood, and not just their teeth. Their jaw and bite alignment can change as well.
One of the biggest culprits to needing orthodontic work like braces is the pacifier. The repeated sucking often causes teeth to move, sometimes drastically.
The longer a child uses a pacifier the more damage can be done. That wonderful creation that helps soothe your child and get them to sleep is ruining their smile. Dentists recommend these be replaced before they become a problem to the child's teeth.
Children develop a strong connection to their pacifiers over time. If you can remove it before this connection develops it will be a far easier adjustment for your child. This usually occurs in their second year so be prepared.
Genetics plays a large role too. How your child's teeth come in is preprogrammed by their genetic makeup. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to change this. As teeth come in you will see exactly what problems you'll need to address.
This could happen as early as 2 years old. In any case, by age 7 or 8 you should see what your child's issues are. As soon as you notice anything be sure to mention it to your pediatric dentist.
These problems can vary widely, from overcrowding teeth, crooked teeth, and protruding teeth, to an uneven bite, an overbite, or an underbite. Your pediatric dentist will be able to tell you exactly what is happening inside your child's mouth and make recommendations.
Accident or Injury
There's nothing worse than an injury to a child, especially to their teeth. Yet, they happen. On the playground, jumping on the bed, or falling off a trampoline.
You should always seek medical attention whenever your child is injured. Emergency room doctors can determine how pressing the need is to get surgical help or more traditional orthodontic treatments for your child's injury.
Pediatric Orthodontic Treatments
Your child's dentist may not offer pediatric orthodontic treatments within their practice, but they will have a relationship with a pediatric orthodontist ready to assist. Getting a pediatric orthodontist to evaluate your child's teeth is the first step in determining if your child should be getting braces now, or waiting, or not at all.
In some cases, your child might have a crossbite, overbite, or underbite. Treatments such as a palate expander can be employed to help restore a natural bite. These can occur in children as young as age 5.
While not exactly considered getting braces, this is an orthodontic treatment that could help avoid getting braces in the future. If your child still needs braces after a palate expander, that doesn't mean the palate expander didn't work. It will likely mean a shorter treatment plan for actual braces so it's worth considering.
When deciding how to get braces there are factors that must be considered before you can choose a treatment. Traditional braces are fixed to the teeth and attached together by metal wires. These are then tightened over time to help position the teeth properly.
In severe cases of crooked teeth, traditional braces may be the best treatment option. Or they could be the first step in a multiple-stage process. Your pediatric orthodontist will explain their necessity and effectiveness for your child's situation first.
Clear aligners are becoming more popular these days for several reasons. First, they are less noticeable and for children, this can be a sensitive subject. Second, they often work faster with certain conditions.
There are limitations to these. If your child has severe overcrowding they might need additional orthodontic work before you can begin this treatment. There is no age restriction, per se, but in most cases, you wouldn't begin before a child reaches age 8.
No matter which type of braces your child needs you wouldn't wait much longer than age 14. That's because a child's teeth and jaw are most easily adjusted prior to this time period.
Recommended Age To Get Braces
Age isn't the single determining factor for getting braces, but it is important. Most orthodontists agree that between the ages of 10 and 14 years old is ideal. For one, the child should have all of their adult teeth in.
Another reason is the jaw bone's development. A child's jawbone will still be developing, growing, and forming. This makes adjusting teeth and things like a crossbite easier and faster.
In order for treatments to be most effective, they should be done in this time frame. However, you should get your child an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. Even if treatments don't begin right away an evaluation will prepare you and your child for the process.
It can be expensive, and it can come with some discomfort for the child. You can begin researching how to handle the challenges that may come.
Finding a Pediatric Orthodontist
As we said earlier, your pediatric dentist should recommend a good one. They might recommend several. You should take it upon yourself to research these recommendations, and seek out your own referrals from friends and family before you get braces for your child.
At Upland Dental we've been transforming smiles for years at our Upland, Chino, Wildomar, and Rancho Cucamonga offices. Contact Upland Dental today and one of. our friendly, professional staff can schedule a consultation. Our pediatric orthodontists can answer any questions you have and recommend a treatment plan that will transform your child's smile.
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