Early orthodontic treatment is typically recommended when a child's incoming or existing teeth are not coming out the way they should. Dentists can usually detect if a child is developing orthodontic issues, like a bad bite, once the first set of primary teeth begin to erupt. Early orthodontic treatment is also used to deal with issues like crossbites, deep bites, open bites and crowding.
Benefits of early orthodontic treatment
In many cases, treatment does not start until a few years after the initial examination. Early treatment is beneficial since it is often cheaper and easier to correct orthodontic issues while the permanent teeth are still forming. That way, they erupt properly aligned.
Early treatment also spares the child from emotional distress in the form of bullying and teasing. It increases their odds of having good dental health in the future since well-aligned teeth are easier to clean than poorly aligned ones.
The goal of treating orthodontic issues early on is to prevent more serious issues from developing and to guide the growth of the child's jaw. At times, the goal is to make more space in the patient's mouth so the permanent teeth can erupt properly.
Determining if your child needs early orthodontic treatment
There are simple ways for parents to determine when a child's teeth are not developing as they should. These include:
- Losing baby teeth before age 5
- The child's teeth not connecting properly when the mouth is closed
- The child breathing with their mouth and/or snoring
- If teeth appear to be packed too tightly together
- Front teeth that protrude
- A speech impediment
- An inability to chew properly
- Thumb sucking after age 5
Parents who notice any of these things should have their child evaluated by a dentist. By getting early treatment, it is done while the child's jawbone tissues are still soft. The jawbone typically does not harden until a person reaches their teenage years. Since the bones are softer, orthodontic measures performed on children are more effective than when used on adults or teenagers. It also lays a solid foundation for good dental health in the future.
The child might need to wear a fixed device
The dentist might recommend orthodontic devices like braces if developing orthodontic issues are detected. Fixed appliances, like traditional metal braces, are preferred since children are often not disciplined enough to use other alternatives like clear aligners.
The severity of the issue being addressed determines the length of treatment.
Fix teeth alignment problems early on
If you notice your child is developing an orthodontic issue, visit a dentist immediately for an evaluation. The dentist will diagnose the condition and come up with an appropriate treatment plan. The earlier the treatment is administered, the faster your child can have a normal, healthy smile.
The bottom line
Fixing orthodontic issues goes past improving the aesthetics of your child's teeth, it makes it easier to keep their mouth clean and prevent issues like tooth decay and gum disease. Stop by our Richmond clinic if your child's teeth are not coming out properly.
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