Crooked teeth, or teeth that do not fit together properly, can have a significant impact on your child’s oral health. Alignment issues make the teeth harder to clean, increasing your child’s risk of developing cavities, uneven wear, premature tooth loss, and other oral health issues. They can also significantly impact your child’s confidence. At Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry, we can diagnose your child’s alignment issues and help them get the treatment they need, giving them a healthy, beautiful smile that will last them a lifetime.
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with issues surrounding the positioning of the teeth and jaw. Any types of misalignment, or malocclusion, can significantly impact your child’s oral health, and their smile. An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the correction of these issues. They have received an additional two or more years of education and training beyond the first four years of dental school.
What Issues Can Orthodontics Treat?
Orthodontics is used to correct a wide variety of different issues:
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children be seen by an orthodontist by the age of 7, regardless of whether or not it looks like your child has issues with the alignment of their teeth/jaw. This visit will allow the orthodontist to determine what, if any, orthodontic treatments may be required. Common issues early on that can point toward the need for orthodontic treatment include:
Early treatment (which often begins around the age of 8 or 9) can help to correct the growth of the jaw. This early intervention also lessens the severity of later treatment, and sometimes helps to avoid it altogether.
Treatment with Braces
Braces are a common orthodontic treatment for young teens (although they are also helpful for some older teens and adults as well). Treatment with braces can begin as early as 11 years of age. They consist of three basic components:
There are several other components that can be used, depending upon your child’s needs. These components include rubber bands, springs, and head gear.
The function of braces is to move your child’s teeth (and jaw if necessary). The archwires are what move the teeth. They place pressure on your child’s teeth, which then puts pressure on the periodontal ligaments (the structures that hold the teeth securely in place). This pressure widens the ligaments, loosening the teeth. The wires then move the teeth gradually into proper alignment. During the course of treatment, the wires are frequently adjusted to move your child’s teeth where they need to go. Once the teeth are in their proper positions, the archwires then hold the teeth securely in place while the jawbone and ligaments heal. Specific treatment times vary from child to child, depending upon their specific needs. Some children can see results in about a year, while other children may need closer to 2 years of treatment.
Taking Care of Teeth with Braces
It is important that your child maintain proper oral hygiene while wearing braces to keep their mouth healthy. However, taking care of teeth with braces does take a bit of extra work. Care includes:
Maintaining the Results of Orthodontic Treatment
After your child’s braces are removed, their treatment is not over. A retainer is used to help stabilize and maintain the results of orthodontic treatment. They help to prevent your child’s teeth from moving back out of alignment. There are a few different types of retainers, including traditional removable retainers (metal wires surround your front teeth and are attached to an acrylic arch that sits on the roof of your mouth) and fixed retainers, which are bonded to the backs of your bottom and top teeth.
If you are interested in learning more about orthodontics, and if they are right for your child, contact Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry today at on of our four locations.
We Look Forward To Meeting You
Our front office staff is happy to discuss our services with you. Our dentists are here to serve your children and teens. For more information, contact one of our multiple Seattle area offices.
919 State Ave #104
Marysville, WA 98270
Phone: (360) 659-8100
9421 N Davies Road, Suite A,
Lake Stevens, WA 98258
Phone: (425) 367-4149
14090 Fryelands Blvd Suite 348, Monroe, WA 98272
Phone: (360) 863-8700
7104 265th Street NW. #110
Stanwood, WA 98292
Phone: (360) 339-8000