How Orthodontics Can Help Your Kid's Oral Health Later in Life
Orthodontics may bring to mind images of older kids and teens in shiny metal braces, but we at Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry in Marysville, WA know that preventative and interceptive orthodontic treatment at a younger age can save your child from greater difficulties in the future.
The American Association of Orthodontics suggests that children ought to have an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. That might seem young, but developments in dentistry and orthodontia have made it possible to identify misaligned bites (also called malocclusion) in children as young as two.
The earlier we can spot a potential need for orthodontia, the easier treatment will be. Preventative and interceptive orthodontic treatments can usually begin between two and six years old and focus on the shape of dental arches, early loss of baby teeth, and potentially harmful habits like thumb sucking. Children who wait until their teens to address these issues often have a harder time correcting growth irregularities. Some treatments performed during these early years can alleviate the need for orthodontics in the future.
Early orthodontic screening helps us to determine if your child needs preventative treatment. For some children, taking preventative measures now will save them from having to get braces in the future, or significantly reduce the length of time they need braces. It may not always be possible to prevent the need for braces but having the information available about your child's orthodontic needs can help you choose and prepare for the best treatment for their smile. We'll keep an eye on two areas during your child's routine visits to prevent future orthodontic problems:
Tooth Crowding or Spacing
Early loss of baby teeth can lead to the loss of adequate space for your child’s permanent teeth to grow in properly. We may recommend something called space maintainers to prevent this loss of dental arch space. Space maintainers usually consist of a metal orthodontic band made of stainless steel wire that then holds the remaining teeth in their proper position. If your child’s permanent teeth have enough space to grow into, the space maintainer helps them grow in straight.
By keeping an eye on jaw growth in your little one, we can correct skeletal problems and prevent more expensive, invasive surgeries later in life. The most common jaw growth-related issue we treat in young people is a narrow upper jaw. A narrow upper jaw may come about naturally or may be the result of thumb sucking. In children, we can correct a narrow upper jaw by using something called a palatal expander. The expander attaches to the primary teeth and spreads apart the two halves of the upper jaw gradually. In adults, the procedure to correct a narrow upper jaw is an invasive surgery that requires cutting the jaw. We can achieve the same results in a much less painful way for children!
Call us at 360-659-8100, 360-863-8700, 425-367-4149, 360-339-8000 today to schedule your routine check-up and ask Dr. Chris Lugo and Associates if you should consider Orthodontics for your child.