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Early Orthodontic Treatment

Attention: Parents of Young Children

 

Ensure a Healthy Dental Future Now

 

      Most parents consider having their child see an orthodontist for two reasons:

 

  1. Their dentist has told them that their child’s teeth are misaligned, a problem which will eventually affect their oral health; and/or
  2. They are concerned about the appearance of their child’s mouth.  Large spaces between the teeth, crooked lower teeth and a protruding over-bite, or bucked teeth are a few of the most common complaints.

 

     The following are frequently asked questions by parents considering orthodontic treatment for their child.  We hope these questions and answers will help you understand when and how orthodontics (braces) can help.

 

At what age should my child see an orthodontist?

 

     The American Association of Orthodontists recommendation is that six or seven years is a good age for your child’s first orthodontic examination.  Conditions may be found that can be corrected at this early age by interceptive measure.  This often will lessen or eliminate the need for help at an older age.

 

     This in turn can be a savings in the total cost of your child’s orthodontic correction.

 

     Please do not wait until your child has lost all of his or her baby teeth.  There are definite advantages to correcting many problems at an early age.  Waiting until all baby teeth are lost can often complicate an otherwise fairly simple problem.  Let your orthodontist decide the best time to intercept or correct your child’s orthodontic problem.

 

What causes crooked teeth?

 

     Thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, premature loss of baby teeth and a poor breathing airway caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils can all contribute to poor tooth positioning.

     Hereditary factors such as extra teeth, large teeth, missing teeth, side spacing and/or small jaws al can be causes of crowded teeth.

 

Why should I be concerned about my child’s bite?

 

     A bad bite can be detrimental to the future of your child’s mouth.  Restorations, crowns or bridges are often impossible for a dentist to perform without prior repositioning of the teeth by an orthodontist.  Properly aligned and supported teeth are healthier, easier to clean and therefore more likely to last throughout a patient’s lifetime.

 

Will it hurt?

 

     Slight discomfort is experienced when pressure is applied to the teeth for their movement.  This usually lasts about 48 to 72 hours and then teeth are comfortable again.  Each succeeding adjustment will mean some minor discomfort, although our patients report a lessening of pain as the treatment progresses.

 

How long will treatment take?

 

     Orthodontic correction can vary from relatively simple closing of the front spaces in a few months to the realignment of unsightly and disfiguring teeth. In the young child or the adolescent, treatment is as much a critical matter of timing and guidance as anything else.

     The normal treatment time varies from 18 months to three years depending on the complexity of the problem.

     Most orthodontists provide an initial consultation at no charge.  Parents/patients should take advantage of this valuable service to determine ideal timing to start treatment.

 

By Shadi Saba D.D.S.