At some point, many of our children will need to wear dental braces. Whether their teeth grow in crooked, they have spaces between them, or they have too many to fit in their mouth, they will need the help of an orthodontist to guarantee a straight smile when they grow up. But how do we determine which children will require orthodontic treatment and which ones won’t? Dr. Kimmy can usually tell when your child’s adult teeth start emerging if they will need orthodontics, and recommend an orthodontist. If you would like to find out more about diagnosing your child’s need for orthodontics, or want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kimmy, call our Manhasset, NY pediatric dental office today at (516) 365-4-KID.
The First Orthodontic Visit
An orthodontist goes through the same schooling as any other dentist. After they are finished, however, they go back for another two to three years of additional training. They learn about diagnosing and planning treatment to repair orthodontic problems, and how to move their patients’ teeth and jaws effectively without causing further damage.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommend that you bring your little one in for his first visit to the orthodontist around the age of seven. At this age, children have already lost some of their baby teeth, and adult teeth are beginning to erupt. An orthodontist, and most dentists, will be able to tell at this age if your child’s teeth will be misaligned. Many problems will be easily noticeable, such as overbites and underbites, and spaces between the teeth, but some will require a trained eye.
Several diagnoses can lead to a recommendation of orthodontic treatment. When a child’s adult teeth start to emerge, the possibility exists that they may grow in crooked. The teeth may overlap or come in rotated or twisted. Sometimes a child’s mouth is too small to hold the full complement of teeth emerging. This can lead to teeth shifting into crooked positions. Each of these conditions is considered an example of malocclusion, a Latin word that translates to “bad bite”.
Typically, malocclusion comes from inherited traits, but it can also result from dental disease, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or early tooth loss. Misaligned teeth can interfere with proper chewing and make proper cleaning more difficult, which results in tooth decay and gum disease. Crooked teeth also make children feel self-conscious about the way they look.
The orthodontist will use x-rays to determine the position of the child’s teeth and determine if any more are on the way. He may order a special 360-degree x-ray that details the relationship of the teeth and jaws to the rest of the patient’s head. He may have the child bite down into a soft material to make an impression that he can use to create an exact model of the child’s teeth. The doctor will use all of these to form a diagnosis and recommend treatment.
Generally, orthodontists will wait until the child reaches his early teens before recommending treatment. If the child has severe problems, however, the doctor may recommend treatment at an earlier age. Treatment can range from something as simple as a removable retainer to, in extreme cases, an operation. For most children, though, the doctor will recommend braces.
Call Us for a Consultation
If you want to know more about diagnosing orthodontic treatment, or would like to schedule an appointment for your child with Dr. Kimmy, call our Manhasset, NY dental office at (516) 365-4-KID today.Leave a reply →