Parents’ Essential Guide to Orthodontic Treatments for Kids
Getting your child early orthodontic care is more than just an issue of aesthetics or beauty. We recommended that parents bring their children for their first orthodontic checkup no longer than age seven.
Seeking professional help while the child is young allows the orthodontist to guide the growth of the child’s jaw, direct the child’s teeth into a more favorable position and lower the risk of injury if the child has protruded teeth.
A bad bite can also strain your child’s jaw, wear down his/her teeth and lead to more dental problems in the future.
First Consultation with the Orthodontist
During your initial consultation, your orthodontist will take initial records including a set of photographs, two x-rays and molds for fabricating models of teeth. Your orthodontist will analyze the data, start planning the treatment and thoroughly go over them with you and your child on your next visit. During the first consultation, encourage your child to ask questions and discuss whatever concerns he/she may have with the orthodontist.
Orthodontic Treatments for Children
Depending on the severity of the teeth alignment issues and bite problems, the orthodontist may suggest one or a combination of orthodontic modalities to correct the bite.
- Braces work by applying pressure to the teeth and jaws to move them into desired position. Braces constitute of bands, brackets (metallic or ceramic), tubes and wires and of course colorful rubber modules and elastics.
- Rubber bands are used when more force is needed to move the teeth and the jaws into proper position. They come in different colors and forces too!
- Headgears are a type of appliance which has an inner bow that fits inside the mouth and an outer bow which fits around the head or neck to guide the direction of tooth movement and jaw growth. The need for wearing headgears and facemasks are different and the orthodontist will prescribe it accordingly.
- Functional appliances are a special appliance used on a growing child. They utilize the muscles action in order to alter the position of the upper or lower jaws.
- Removable active appliances can move a tooth or a group of teeth in certain cases but to a lesser degree than the fixed appliances.
- Retainers must be used to maintain the teeth in the correct position once the braces are removed. Since the jaws and teeth are constantly changing throughout life, wearing retainers are necessary. Retainers can either be fixed or removable, depending on your child’s case.
- Oral surgery is required when there is a need for removal of certain teeth for the sake of orthodontic treatment, depending on the need for space to align the teeth or to position the jaws properly.
Jaw surgeries may also be needed when there is a major discrepancy between the size or position of the upper and lower jaws. In that case the orthodontist, will refer the patient to the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon for further investigation.
Orthodontics has certainly come a long way and there are many options available to your child. If you wish to bring your child for his or her first orthodontic checkup, please give us a call at Dr. Michael’s Dental Clinic!