In our last post, we examined the most common medical reasons why kids receive orthodontics and the resulting benefits of such treatment. Today, I’d like to take our discussion a step further and answer the 3 most common questions we hear from our patients’ parents.
At what age should I have my child evaluated for early intervention?
The simplest answer is around 6 years old. For some children, your dentist can have a pretty good idea by even earlier if the evidence is overwhelming. However, when your child starts to get his first permanent molars (6-year molar, big tooth in the back), it’s time for an evaluation. Sometimes this evaluation is just a visual exam. But other times your dentist might need to take some x-rays and impressions of your child’s teeth.
Aren’t braces painful?
We like to say they can be “uncomfortable.” Many parents are concerned about their child’s pain threshold or dental anxiety. I understand; I’m a parent, too! I can tell you from countless experiences that children are adaptable and amazing. They are way tougher than we adults are. Because bone is so much more “forgiving” in our younger years, the teeth move faster with less force.
A quick note about dental anxiety: One of our favorite things about children’s orthodontics is the relationship we as an office get to develop with these kids. We have seen some of the shyest, most anxious (including tears) children transform over the course of treatment. The trusting basis of a relationship that is established young sets a tone that reduces dental anxiety well into their adult years.
If my child gets braces as young as 7, does this mean she won’t have to get braces again when she gets all her permanent teeth?
Not necessarily. Our goal in any early orthodontic case is to get a jumpstart on development or space issues. We want to get in and get out – usually in less than a year. In some cases, the need for future orthodontics is not necessary; however, when phase two orthodontics is needed in their teenage years, it is so much easier and faster.
Remember, going to the dentist isn’t just for cleanings, fillings and the occasional root canal anymore. We’re here to provide comprehensive dental solutions for your whole family, including orthodontics, TMJ/TMD treatment, teeth whitening and so much more. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!
Your 7-year-old daughter is beside herself because she’s lost most of her front teeth and her piggy bank is loaded with quarters from the tooth fairy. Simultaneously, you are seeing these walrus-like teeth entering your baby girl’s mouth and wondering if this will be a braces child. Does this sound familiar? I can relate. This is my daughter and me – except I don’t wonder if she needs braces – I know. I’m her dentist and her dad.
Almost 8 years ago when my daughter was born, I began taking courses from industry experts in the growth and development arena. I learned how orthodontic intervention (braces) aid in correcting poor jaw development and enhance both future esthetics and function. Now, after hundreds of hours of education and years of experience, I find myself excited doing it on a daily basis. Braces and related appliances can be life changing. Sure, there are the awesome benefits of a winning smile, but there are many other benefits to a child in need.
Below are a few of the issues we at Lenderman Dental look for when determining if a child (age 6-10) needs braces early:
- Correction of a crossbite
- Help in breaking harmful habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrusts
- Difficulty chewing
- Protruding teeth at high risk of traumatic injury
- Severe crowding: a little help early can mean less invasive dental corrections later
- Improvement of upper airway passages for children with narrow arches
- Severe tooth wear on a tooth out of position
- Improvement in a child’s self-esteem with correction of poorly aligned teeth
So, parents, those dental visits for your young kids are so important. As we all know, our kids grow so fast. Seeing your dentist on a regular basis allows him to not only teach good habits, but to keep a look out for any developmental red flags.
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