Did you notice that your child’s teeth and jaw are not growing appropriately? Did your child’s dentist suggest orthodontic treatment? Perfect! You’re in good hands with Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics! Braces are a great way to fix your child’s bite pattern with early treatment, and we have the expertise to give your family quality care!
If you’re concerned that your child might be too young, or you feel that you have a few years to wait before you take your child to their first orthodontic appointment, we have some information you might find helpful!
Why Should My Child See An Orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists states that a child should see an orthodontist by the age of seven for early evaluation. Though most children will not begin care immediately or at all, it is best for potential problems to be found and dealt with as the child’s bones are still developing. Pediatric orthodontics is used for preventative treatment (stopping a problem that is showing warning signs of developing), interceptive treatment (interrupting the development of an already present problem), or growth guidance (assisting the jaw bone in growing correctly).
Though people of any age can benefit from orthodontic care, children are ideal candidates. Their bones and ligaments are still developing, so they are, metaphorically, “soft and squishy,” making them easy to mold like wet clay. This pliability means that correcting the alignments of children is much easier and quicker than in adults. As your child grows and the bones solidify and become accustomed to its placement, orthodontic work risks becoming more invasive and complicated. If you are able and your child qualifies, acquiring orthodontic work at a younger age will save you and your child time, money, and discomfort in the future.
What Are The Benefits?
Fixing your child’s bite has more advantages than just saving you money and shortening the duration of treatment. Let’s check out other ways early treatment can positively impact your child’s life.
Misaligned teeth can make oral hygiene a chore and a challenge for people of all ages. It can make it hard for children to feel motivated to develop beneficial habits as they grow, and it can also increase their risk of oral health issues as plaque and bacteria build up on the teeth and gums. Thanks to the possible pain and hard-to-reach places created by malocclusion and improper jaw placement, your child could develop tooth decay and gum disease faster and more often than those with straight teeth.
Malocclusion and poor jaw placement can also make chewing challenging, leading to issues in the digestive process. Potential concerns include but are not limited to dry mouth, choking, indigestion, malnutrition, and heartburn.
As your child gets older, oral pain could quickly spread to the neck and head if left untreated, resulting in migraines and the development of TMJ, an uncomfortable and often permanent jaw joint condition. Your child also has a higher probability of facial injury, depending on their type of misalignment.
Unfortunately, your child’s oral well-being can also affect their mental health. If your child does not like their appearance or their peers bully them for looking different, they might struggle with self-esteem. If their misalignment produces a speech impediment or breathing issues, they could feel embarrassed or judged by those around them. Your child can become isolated, depressed, or develop social anxiety. It can even negatively affect their daily brain function from lack of sleep caused by poor breathing or pain, making them irritable and perform poorly in hobbies or academics.
Straight teeth can significantly change a growing child’s life by improving people’s perception of them and allowing them the opportunity to have better oral health without the headache (literally and metaphorically)! They will have an easier time making professional, romantic, and platonic connections and will enjoy less time at the dentist or doctor.
What Are The Treatment Options?
Dr. Yu very proudly offers treatment for patients of all ages.
Metal braces are the traditional choice for a reason! They are durable and able to fix even complex orthodontic needs. Our Damon self-ligating braces use wires and brackets to straighten the teeth. Though your child won’t get to customize their braces with colorful ligatures, they will receive faster treatment with less discomfort than with other fixed braces styles! Because we glue these braces to the teeth, you won’t have to worry about your child losing or not wearing their appliances. However, your child will need to adjust their oral hygiene routine and diet and wear a mouthguard during physical activities.
Invisalign For Kids
We might suggest Invisalign for young patients with mild to moderate bite needs. Invisalign creates removable braces, also known as clear aligners, that are custom designed and made for your child. The removability of the trays gives your child freedom in their diet and limited dietary changes (if any), but it does give them some added responsibility. They will have to remember to wear and clean the trays daily; neglecting to do so can result in oral health complications and prolonged treatment.
Fortunately, Invisalign for Teens was designed with you and the patient’s age in mind. Each tray has a Compliance Dot, which changes color based on its exposure to saliva, so you can ensure your child is wearing the trays. The child program also allows for a limited number of replacement trays if your child loses or damages their aligners.
Begin Your Child’s Treatment With Adult & Pediatric Orthodontics Just In Time For Summer!
The best treatment option depends on your child’s bite needs, lifestyle, and responsibility level. To determine if your child qualifies for care, schedule a free consultation with our amazing team. We strive to create a welcoming and fun environment so your child will feel comfortable and happy at every visit. If you have any questions, contact our Portland or Windham offices today! We look forward to meeting you soon!