There are few things more endearing than seeing a young child grinning and proudly showing off their newly missing teeth. A gapped grin is a staple of early childhood photos and a telltale sign that the tooth fairy has recently paid a visit, but what happens when those cute little gaps don’t fill in the exact way we may have hoped? While children’s mouths and bodies are growing and changing for many years into their teens, sometimes it’s easy for a dentist to tell early on whether or not a smile will naturally straighten itself or if intervention may be needed. You may think of braces as being strictly a teenager’s concern, but there are many times where orthodontics can benefit younger kids too! Read on to learn some fast facts about early orthodontics.
Earlier can be easier.
Depending on the condition, treating teeth at an early age may actually be easier than waiting until their mouths are more fully formed. Early orthodontic treatment is known as interceptive orthodontics because it does just that: intercepts problems before they get out of hand. Starting as young as 6 or 7 years old, it is done at an age where the teeth and jaw are still growing, so issues like crowding can be more readily addressed. Crowding happens when too many adult teeth are trying to erupt in a confined space, and orthodontics can help to make space and allow teeth to erupt in their correct place. Some orthodontic conditions are better treated when mouths are more developed, so treatment plans will depend entirely on your child’s individual needs and will be assessed by their orthodontist.
Why not wait?
While people can—and do!—benefit from braces at every age, there are some definite pros to early intervention. Because your child’s jaw is still growing, the right treatments can help to shape and guide things such as jaw alignment or dental arches that aren’t quite in the right position. It’s important to note that early orthodontics is usually a preliminary step to another round of dental treatment once the child’s mouth has fully developed, so they will most likely have to wear braces a few years after their first treatment. But by being proactive at an early age, later orthodontic work can be much easier and quicker!
Caring for Their Teeth
Orthodontic work can be a lot to deal with for anyone, but especially for a young child who may not fully understand their long term needs. It’s important to instill diligent oral hygiene practices in young children from an early age, and even more vital to make sure they’re keeping up with their routine while wearing braces or an expander! Brushing twice daily and flossing will help keep your child’s mouth healthy and their teeth strong while they undergo orthodontic treatment so their pearly whites will be ready to show off when treatment is over.
Orthodontic work can be helpful at any age! If you’re concerned about how your young child’s teeth are coming in, or if you would simply like to schedule a routine checkup, please give us a call at Meadows Dental Care in Palatine to schedule an appointment today!