Pediatric Orthodontic Care
Orthodontist for Childern
Thinking about your child and whether orthodontic treatment might be needed at some point? You’ve come to the right place. The Parent’s Guide to Orthodontics will help you understand how the process works, from understanding early check-ups to post-treatment best practices.
Orthodontic treatment can be a very important part of your child’s oral health care. Teeth that work together make it possible to bite and chew properly, and contribute to clear speech. Teeth that function well tend to have a pleasing appearance. The beautiful smile that results from orthodontic treatment is the outward sign of good oral health and sets the stage for overall well-being.
Understanding early check-ups
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get their first check-up with an AAO orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. Around that age, children have a mix of baby (primary) and permanent teeth. An examination as permanent teeth take the place of baby teeth, and as the face and jaws are growing, gives the orthodontist a wealth of information. If a problem exists, or if one is developing, your orthodontist is able to advise you on whether treatment is recommended, when it should begin, what form treatment will take, and estimate its length.
What will I learn at an early check-up?
In general, an examination would reveal if your child has an existing orthodontic problem, or if one is developing. You could also learn that no problems are present at this time.
Are braces used in early treatment?
When a child has early treatment (while most baby teeth are present), the type of treatment varies based on the kind of problem a child needs to be corrected. The goal of early treatment is to create a better environment for permanent teeth as they come in. Not all orthodontic treatment is accomplished with braces. For some patients, early treatment could consist of the removal of a stubborn baby tooth, so that the succeeding permanent tooth can arrive in its proper place. Some patients may need help with how to position their tongue when they swallow, while others may need intervention to stop a thumb- or finger-sucking habit. These are sometimes treated with habit appliances. If a child’s upper jaw is too narrow, so that the permanent teeth do not have room to come in, treatment could consist of a palate expander to widen the jaw. Braces are often recommended to optimize tooth and jaw alignment after most or all of the permanent teeth are in. Your AAO orthodontist makes use of the full range of orthodontic appliances and will recommend the type of treatment he/she believes is best suited to your child and correcting his/her orthodontic problem
How orthodontic treatment works
Teeth are moved by placing gentle, controlled forces on them, as the orthodontist uses “appliances” such as braces or clear aligners to guide them to their ideal positions over a period of time. Tooth movement happens because of the breakdown and rebuilding of bone tissue.
At the end of “active” treatment (when teeth are being moved), most patients will wear retainers to give the new bone a chance to harden and support the new positions of the teeth.
It’s truly a complex biological process, and orthodontists master the multi-faceted intricacies of orthodontic treatment through years of study, including four years of dental school followed by two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program
How will orthodontic treatment help my child?
Orthodontic treatment will help your child bite and chew, and contribute to clear speech. When teeth function properly, they tend to look nice. An attractive smile is a pleasant side effect of orthodontic treatment and can have emotional benefits. Self-confidence and self-esteem may improve as orthodontic treatment bring teeth, lips, and face into proportion. Straight teeth are less prone to decay, gum disease, and injury.