Are your child’s permanent teeth coming in crooked and you are starting to wonder the right time to put them in braces? Young children may not be as expressive as adults when it comes to how they feel about their appearance or if they are not comfortable with eating. As parents we become concerned when our child’s smile isn’t as straight as we would like. So what is the right age to start a child with orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment in children that are young is called interceptive orthodontics; children can begin interceptive orthodontics as early as six years old. During this delicate age, the teeth and jaw are still developing. Therefore during this time, dentists can intercept and treat specific conditions while it is easier to treat, such as crowding.
There are specific conditions that require early intervention such as cross bites and protruding front teeth. Front teeth that stick out may become a hazard to young children and adults alike, but especially in children. Children tend to be more playful and unaware of the surrounding dangers that can potentially cause them to lose a tooth. A simple fall or any accident can cause front teeth to be injured or fractured. Cross bites on the other hand tend to make the jaw grow unevenly. While the jaw is developing at a young age, interceptive orthodontics can aid in guiding the jaw to develop within normal limits and therefore preventing any future complications that a child may experience as an adult. Early orthodontic treatment does not help all orthodontic issues, but it does help tremendously in certain cases.
The reason early intervention is advantageous in orthodontic treatment is that it uses the fact that the child’s jaw is still in the process of developing. Appliances such as palatal/arch expanders can aid in the treatment of misaligned dental arches or jaws. Starting your child’s orthodontic treatment early doesn’t necessarily mean that they would not need more orthodontic treatment in the future, but it may assist by making future treatment shorter and less complex.
Before fitting your child with braces, be prepared to inform them about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. Children with braces should brush their teeth more than two times daily; when wires and brackets are placed, food easily gets lodged in the dental appliance. Good oral hygiene provides a good outcome for orthodontic work and lessens the risks of complications due to bacteria, plaque, and calculus buildup. Also make sure your child is committed to coming in for their six month cleanings at the dental office.
Preventive care is very important in dentistry; especially when it comes to your child’s smile. Schedule an appointment with us today to discuss your concerns about early or preventive care for your child’s oral health.