Early Orthodontic Treatment: For Young Children Orthodontics Isn’t Just About A Pretty Smile
Every parent wants their child to smile with confidence but for many that’s not the only reason to investigate orthodontics at an early age. While the average age for orthodontic treatment is around 12 years old, at DeSimone Orthodontics we have a mission to focus on children seven years and up to follow up with the American Association of Orthodontics guidelines.
Early Orthodontic treatment has many benefits. An orthodontic consult at an early age can catch future issues and adjust for them before they become problems. Some of these issues include:
- Airway Obstruction: well developed airways allow normal breathing through the nose when the mouth is closed. While this may sound trivial, nasal breathing is important because it’s now known to be vital to good health. Airway obstruction has been linked to developmental delays, sleep disorders, behavioral disturbances, and later can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart disease and more. These sound scary but the treatment is easy if we are able to catch it early on! We all can relate to our little ones that struggle with allergies!
- Impaction: Dr. DeSimone can prevent canine impactions if she evaluates the position of these teeth no later than age 8 years old. The benefit is tremendous and can eliminate the risk of tooth loss, gum loss and surgery later on.
- Crossbites: by age 7 most children’s permanent molars and incisors should be descending. A trained eye can see early on if crowding or crossbites will be an issue as the rest of your child’s permanent teeth come in. The earlier treatment begins, the easier it will be because your child’s jaw is less developed at this early age and can be guided along the right path rather than working to reverse issues at a later age.
- Overcrowding: Traditionally, orthodontists would say wait until age 11 or 12 to treat a crowding problem, but the problem isn’t going to get any better by waiting. Early treatment has been proven to correct narrow arches and create space for the teeth as well as for the tongue so they may function correctly when swallowing. Plus, early treatment can avoid the need for future tooth extraction or jaw surgery.
The benefits to Early Orthodontic treatment are clear:
- Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct any habits that can cause bad bites later on, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment. Speaking of…
- Two Phase Treatment: Phase 1 works with your young child to make space for their permanent teeth. Phase 2 begins once they are descending. Often children who undergo Phase 1 treatment have a much shorter Phase 2. This makes life easier for both them and you as their schedules get busier and busier.
Not every child will need early treatment, but if they need early treatment and if it is caught early on by a trained orthodontist, it could make a big difference in the outcomes of treatment later on by taking advantage of growth and also by possibly avoiding extractions. Knowing the importance of early orthodontics is only part of the battle. Then the question is who do you talk to? We at DeSimone Orthodontics focus on your child’s individual needs and focus on early orthodontic treatment to avoid extractions and also to take advantage of growth!
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Oral Hygiene Overview
For a brief overview of oral hygiene tips, please click on the image below. It will launch our educational module in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about oral hygiene.
You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food compacts in the brackets and between your teeth, and can only be removed by brushing and flossing. If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it will leave a permanent white scar on the surface. Brushing after meals should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush with firm pressure and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and gum; brush in small circles above and below the brackets. Click here for visual instructions. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray. A Waterpik can be a useful addition but it cannot remove the sticky plaque that adheres to the teeth. Sonicare toothbrushes are very helpful. Flossing is important and should be done every day.
Please do not eat hard foods: nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spareribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating), and popcorn! These foods risk breaking brackets and wires. Also beware of nail biting and pen or pencil chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods: taffy, caramels, bubble gum, or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods.
||Eat with Caution or Cut up:
||Eat much less:
Drink much less: