In this series we will answer many of the questions we hear when working with patients in our offices. I have heard more than once from my own family and friends, “I don’t want to do braces twice for my child. I am just going to wait until all of their adult teeth are in.”
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends all children have an orthodontic exam at about age 7.
Orthodontics is about more than just straight teeth. The development of the jaws and bones of the sinuses and face are all evaluated during an orthodontic examination. Your orthodontist has special training in spotting possible developmental problems before it is too late for treatments that are less complicated and less invasive.
Some of these interventions may not even include braces and could be as simple as:
Once again, the tongue is a very strong muscle, if a developing child does not swallow in the correct way, it can cause the bones to permanently be malformed. The same is true for a thumb habit, or even sucking in the lower lip consistently. These habits are easier to retrain the younger the patient is and can prevent multiple issues that are difficult to correct after puberty.
Have you ever bought jeans for your child and 6 months later nothing fits? These extreme growth spurts are the absolute best developmental event when making orthodontic changes. If we have the chance to guide growth spurts to our advantage, we can save time and money, and maximize the positive results! This means evaluating a patient for months and sometimes even years without treatment to catch them during that “sweet spot”.
Another great reason to have children seen early for an exam is they still have many baby teeth. If crowding is an issue, we can save space for the future by controlling which teeth come out first and in what order.
It is called guided eruption and it allows the permanent teeth to come in closer to their final position, helping with long term stability and straighter adult teeth without drastic intervention. This also can prevent costly impacted teeth by creating a “path of least resistance” for a permanent tooth that has lost its way to be redirected. Teeth that are on the wrong trajectory can damage other healthy teeth and often become stuck requiring surgery.
The upper jaw is actually a few different bones with connections called sutures between them. Before puberty, these sutures are soft and pliable, making them easy to manipulate. Waiting until after puberty can limit our ability to make room for all of the teeth. After puberty when the sutures fuse, we can artificially open them again with jaw surgery, but we always try to avoid surgery if possible. Early Treatment (Phase 1 Treatment) can usually allow us to do so.
The roof of the mouth is also the floor of the sinus. If normal breathing through the nose is obstructed for any reason, children may breathe primarily through their mouth. This can be a problem for the development of the face and jaws.
The tongue is a large powerful muscle and it is actually responsible for helping to develop the width of the jaws, palate, and guide tooth eruption. Missing an opportunity to correct breathing isuees can result in malformations that can only be corrected with surgery in adulthood.
So, as you can see, there are many treatment options that do not even require braces for young children. This is why we offer a free consultation to inform you of your options. Call and schedule one today for your child. Stay tuned for more in this Blog series-WHY?