What do you think of when you hear the word orthodontics? Many people envision preteens and teens with big smiles full of chunky metal brackets and wires. But did you know, children can begin orthodontic treatment as young as six years old? The American Dental Association recommends children visit an orthodontist by age seven. Depending on your child’s dental development, he may recommend children’s braces or other interceptive treatments, such as:
- Functional appliances
- Specialized retainers
- Expansion appliances
- Braces on selected teeth
First phase orthodontics is also referred to as early intervention orthodontics. It is typically followed by a second stage of treatment when the child is older. Phase one typically makes phase two much shorter and less complicated.
Reasons for Children’s Braces
Kids need braces and other interceptive treatments for a wide variety of reasons. A pediatric dentist may be the first to notice that your child could need orthodontic treatment. He or she will recommend you visit an orthodontist who can decide if treatment is needed, when treatment is necessary, and which devices would be the most beneficial.
Though it may seem like children’s teeth are less important than their permanent teeth, they aren’t! Your child’s first set of teeth will directly affect how their adult teeth develop. Here are some reasons for children’s braces:
- Crooked teeth
- Overlapping teeth
- Overcrowded teeth
- An overbite
- An underbite
Many times, tooth and jaw problems are inherited, but they also occur as a result of an accident or a bad habit like thumb sucking.
Types of Children’s Braces
You may be surprised to hear that traditional metal braces aren’t the only orthodontic option for children. While traditional braces may be recommended, other options are available. Types of children’s braces include:
- Ceramic: Instead of metal, brackets can be made from ceramic. This material is more discreet but not as strong as traditional braces.
- Clear aligners: Invisalign® now makes aligners for children. Talk to your child’s orthodontist to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment.
- Lingual: This braces option is secured to the back of the teeth, not the front, to be more discreet.
For children, traditional braces are often the best choice. They are extremely effective and require much less responsibility.
Remember, braces aren’t the only orthodontic treatment an orthodontist recommends. In fact, braces might not even be necessary. Talk to your child’s orthodontist about the pros and cons of all treatment options before deciding what’s best for your little one.
Benefits of First Phase Orthodontics
Choosing to treat your child’s dental problems early offers numerous potential benefits, including:
- Positive jawbone growth
- Improving the width of the top and bottom arches
- Reduced need for extracting permanent teeth
- Reduced or eliminated need for jaw surgery
- Lower risk of trauma to jutted front teeth
- Gains space for erupting teeth
- Improves the position of first molars
- Improved speech problems
- Reduces risk of impacted permanent teeth
- Shortens phase two treatment
- Improves aesthetics
- Heightens self-esteem
Visit an Experienced Orthodontist
If your pediatric dentist has recommended your child to an orthodontist, make sure the ortho has years of experience with children’s braces and other interceptive treatments.
Our board-certified orthodontists love serving the families of Auburn, CA and the surrounding areas. Dr. Markham and Dr. Scott love helping children achieve beautiful, healthy smiles through gentle orthodontic care, but they will only recommend it when it’s beneficial. Call our office today at (916) 924-8970 to schedule a complimentary evaluation.