“Braces for kids, rather sooner while they are still growing.”
Sooner rather than later is a key concept in orthodontic treatment for children
As adults, it is our job to ensure our kids grow up as healthy as they can be. Sometimes this means early intervention when a child’s teeth or jaws aren’t developing as they should. Not only can early orthodontic intervention help protect your child’s oral health, it can go much further. Narrow or underdeveloped jaws can impact a child’s ability to sleep properly, and cause painful TMJ problems in adult life.
Sometimes it’s all about the tongue
If a child suffers from allergies, their ability to breathe is compromised. If a child’s airway is restricted enough, or if it is blocked by swollen tonsils or adenoids it can create an altered tongue position.
In a child, when the tongue is in the wrong place, it does not provide the support needed for normal growth and development of the dental arches. The result is a narrow dental arch and mouth. Left uncorrected, this can result in a lifetime of chronic TMJ pain and breathing disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Get ‘em while they are still growing
In the stage known to dentists as “mixed dentition” – the phase in which the primary teeth are falling out and the permanent teeth are growing in – there is a high rate of malocclusion. Drs. Harlow Shehan and Edward Cheney of Michigan call this stage “one of the most complicated and exciting developmental ’sprees’ of the human body. All is not beautiful during the changing sequences of mixed dentition”. In other words, the teeth and jaws of some kids need orthodontic guidance to help them transition into a healthy set of adult teeth.
Approximately 90% of a child’s face has developed by age 12. That’s why orthodontists must intervene early in order to effectively modify the dental growth of young patients. A key advantage of early orthodontic treatment is, because the child is still growing and the jaws have not completely formed, bite problems can often be corrected without the need for surgery or tooth extraction.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?
For children who need intervention, early orthodontic treatment can help:
- Influence the growth of the jaw
- Reduce orthodontic treatment times
- Balance out the width of the dental arches
- Improve the eruption patterns of adult teeth
- Resolve speech issues
- Stop harmful oral habits such as tongue thrusting
- Improve breathing and sleep patterns
- Reserve space for permanent teeth erupting later
- Reduce the likelihood of impacted adult teeth
Does your child need an orthodontist? Find out
As your child grows, make sure you schedule regular dental check-ups. Make sure you communicate any problems you notice with your child’s breathing or sleeping, and keep you dentist up to date on any harmful oral habits, such as thumb sucking, your child may have.
If you would like to learn more about orthodontics for children, please schedule a complimentary consultation.