As parents, we always want what’s best for our kids. The best education, healthcare, friends, and opportunities are just a few of the things we hope our children experience. It’s a parents job to make sure their child is taken care of — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Annual physicals at the doctor and staying in close communication with the school system ensures your child is reaching all of the important benchmarks and milestones they should. But some answers and decisions aren’t quite so cut and dry. Questions like whether or not to vaccinate your child or if they need braces are ones that many parents grapple over. Stress no more! This article will help you decide if your child needs braces, including warning signs, risks, and questions to ask your Oshawa Orthodontics.
Signs Your Child Might Need Braces
The best way to determine if your child needs braces is to take note of physical signs. Although you’re not an orthodontist, you’re still a parent. And parents know their children best. Take note if any of these conditions apply to your child:
- Crowded or overlapping teeth
- Large gaps between teeth
- A child who was a thumb or finger sucker
- Loss of baby teeth either too early, too late, or irregularly
- Crooked or uneven jaw
- Breathing through the mouth
- Difficult eating, chewing, or biting
- Biting the inner cheek or roof of the mouth
Not all children’s teeth grow in at the same rate or time. But keep an eye on how your child’s baby teeth are falling out and the adult teeth are coming in. If you’re unsure, ask your child’s dentist if a consultation with an orthodontist, like the professionals at Sporting Smiles, might be in order.
At What Age are Braces Best?
While there’s no specific timeline for when to see an orthodontist, most children are ready for their first visit around the age of 7. This gives the orthodontist ample time to evaluate your child’s mouth and make recommendations for treatment. Palatal expanders are becoming increasingly popular to help treat under and overbites, crowding, or impacted teeth. This device is implanted in the top or bottom of your child’s mouth where it slowly widens the jaw. This is done at home using a small key. Your child will revisit the orthodontist for several checks and evaluations throughout the process.
Sometimes, a palatal expander isn’t enough. Or, the child is passed the age where an expander is appropriate. Most children who are candidates for braces receive them between the ages of 9 and 14. This is the time span where most children have several permanent teeth, but others are still growing in. Braces help to slowly move teeth to a healthier, more appropriate position. There’s no set time frame for how long this process takes. Some children only wear braces for as few as 12 to 16 months where others need them for 2 years or more. It all depends on your child’s individual condition and how their teeth respond to treatment.
What Causes the Need for Braces?
There are several factors that can impact healthy development of a child’s teeth. Unfortunately, some conditions are inherited, leaving them completely out of the child (or parent’s) control. Things like extra or missing teeth, large gaps between teeth, protruding teeth, or jaw misalignment are often passed from parent to child. But some dental conditions are preventable. Practicing healthy dental hygiene and maintaining a healthy diet are two ways to promote healthy teeth and gums. In addition, children who suck their thumbs or fingers as an infant or small child may cause a misalignment of teeth over time.
How Braces Work
Now that you have a better understanding of what creates the need for braces and how to determine if your child needs them, let’s discuss exactly what braces are, how they work, and what you and your child can expect.
We’ve all seen someone with braces. They look like metal squares lining the child’s teeth, fitted with colorful rubber bands. But what exactly are braces made of? And what are they doing in your child’s mouth? Let’s take a look!
These are the small squares you see on a child’s tooth. Brackets are bonded directly to the front of your child’s tooth using the same type of dental bond used to install a palatal expander. These brackets hold the wires in place. It’s the wires that slowly move your child’s teeth, not the brackets, which act more like handles.
Orthodontic bands act as an anchor for the brackets, but are not required for all braces.
Arch wires are attached to the brackets and are used to move the teeth slowly into place.
Spacers are used when implanting both braces and palatal expanders. These small rubber bands are placed between two teeth prior to the braces or expander. Spacers are used to create space between the teeth, allowing for easier implantation of the required dental device.
Ties or Rubber Bands
Ties are used to attach the arch wires to the brackets. These are the colored rubber bands that most kids love picking out! Let your child choose their favorite color, sports team colors, or colors that compliment an upcoming holiday. This will put a positive spin on the situation.
Your child might also need rubber bands to be worn between the upper and lower teeth. These elastic bands attach to a hook on the brackets and are used for achieving perfect alignment between individual teeth.
If your child suffers from large gaps between their teeth, springs might also be used. These devices are placed on the arch wires and help open, close, push, or pull spaces between overcrowded or spaced out teeth.
It’s a combination of all these moving parts that make braces such a worthwhile option for helping correct a young child’s dental issues. But that doesn’t mean getting braces comes without nerves — for both the child and parents. The entire process takes between one and two hours. And while it’s uncomfortable, your child shouldn’t experience any pain. Following the braces being put on, your child may feel some soreness and discomfort. This is more prevalent as days go on and the teeth begin to shift and move. Over the counter pain medications are perfect for easing any discomfort. It’s also recommended that any child with new braces avoid hard or difficult to chew foods for the first few days. Once chewing returns to normal, your child can resume their regular diet.
If your child needs braces, now is the time! Have your child evaluated by an orthodontist before they grow into adulthood and encounter more extensive dental issues.
Article Submitted By Community Writer