If you are wondering when you should be bringing your child to the orthodontist our Manitoba dentists can help. Here we discuss the signs you need to look for and when orthodontic treatment can benefit your child's health.
When should kids start having orthodontic treatment?
Sometimes, concerned parents contact us to ask for advice regarding when they should be bringing their children in for an orthodontic appointment. This could be because they anticipate arising orthodontic problems for their children due to hereditary factors, or because they are noticing symptoms that are concerning them.
We always say every child is unique in terms of age, development, treatment requirements, and other elements. The recommended time for children to start orthodontic treatment will vary based on their individual orthodontic condition (example: misalignment of bite and teeth) and its severity.
In the past, orthodontists wouldn’t usually treat children until they were in their adolescent years (approximately 12 to 14 years old), once their permanent teeth have erupted. This method often meant that extractions were required to leave space for other teeth to shift as they needed to during treatment.
Today, the approach has changed and orthodontists and dentists have begun using interceptive orthodontics to start treating children anywhere between the age of 7 and 11. This way, we can correct orthodontic issues before they fully develop, keep more of your child’s permanent teeth, and have a positive early impact on their oral health.
With interceptive orthodontics for children, orthodontic appliances (not strictly braces) can be used while a child still has his or her baby teeth. Once the child’s adult teeth erupt, we can begin the second phase of orthodontic treatment.
What are the early signs of orthodontic problems?
With interceptive orthodontic treatment, we are able to help treat misalignment problems before they turn into larger issues. This can also benefit the health of children. Treatable conditions include:
- Misaligned teeth
- Overly crowded teeth (one or both jaws would need to be expanded)
- Maintaining space for permanent teeth to come in after premature loss of baby tooth
- Early removal of specific baby teeth to encourage permanent teeth to emerge correctly
- Protrusion of front teeth
- Extreme tongue thrust habits
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Early interceptive orthodontic treatment could have any of the benefits below:
- Reducing treatment length
- Crowded teeth have room to emerge
- Decreasing need for tooth extraction
- Lower risk of trauma as a result of protruding front teeth
- Reduced need for more extensive treatment later in life
Our dentists at Assiniboine Dental Group are able to examine your child’s teeth to see if they are a possible candidate for interceptive orthodontics. Depending on the nature and severity of the case, we might refer you to an experienced orthodontist, or take on the treatment ourselves. The treatment options provided will depend on your child’s needs and might include braces, a retainer, an appliance, or some combination of these.
If your child can benefit from an orthodontic intervention, we will explain how treatment can positively impact your child’s development, then explain treatment options and answer any questions you may have.