Early Orthodontic Treatment:
Why might my child need early orthodontic treatment?
A common question surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment asks “why would my child need early treatment?” Early treatment is typically indicated when children need help making room for permanent teeth or to correct the growth of the jaw(s). The goal of early treatment is to normalize growth patterns and/or lessen the chance of permanent tooth extraction or possible tooth impaction in the future. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this age the orthodontist can evaluate whether your child will need early orthodontic treatment.
Your child may need early treatment if:
- Baby teeth were lost early or are late to erupt
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing and snoring
- Thumb sucking continues sucking after age five
- Protruding teeth (a large space is present between the top teeth and the bottom teeth)
- Teeth that don’t bite together normally or do not contact at all
- Shifting of the jaw to the right or left when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbite)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment:
A patient is considered ready for full orthodontic treatment when a majority, or all, of their permanent teeth are present. The length of treatment and appliances necessary to achieve a great result depends on the size and shape of the jaws and their relationship with each other, how the teeth bite together, and the ability to keep all permanent teeth when significant crowding is present. After treatment is complete, your doctor will provide you with retainers.
Types of braces:
These brackets are made of the same materials as traditional braces, however they do not require the use of colored elastics to secure the wire. They have a specialized “door” that slides open and closed to allow insertion and removal of the arch wire.
Mostly commonly referred to as Invisalign, clear aligners are a series of removable, clear plastic trays that sequentially straighten your teeth similarly to braces. These trays are comfortable and are basically invisible. The patient’s ability to brush and floss is improved as these trays are removable.
Taking care of braces:
Now that you’ve started orthodontic treatment, how do you care for braces?
There are foods we ask you to avoid while wearing braces.
- Hard, crunchy – suckers, Jolly Ranchers, pizza crust, crunchy taco shells, popcorn, ice cubes
- Sticky, gooey – caramel, Laffy Taffy, bubble gum,
- Foods you have to bite into – corn on the cob, apples
Don’t worry, you’ll be eating your favorite foods again before you know it! However, we ask that you avoid these things to make sure brackets do not break loose from the tooth and teeth can continue to move as planned.
For a short time, your teeth will be sore and uncomfortable.
You can expect some discomfort for 1-2 days following the placement of braces and wires. Some patients find they need to take a pain reliever to help with the discomfort. This is very normal and remember, only temporary!
Also, it is common for your cheeks and lips to feel irritated for a couple weeks. They will toughen and become used to the braces. Until then, we will provide you some wax that you can use to cover any area that is rubbing and sore.
“My teeth feel loose! Is this normal?”
Yes! Teeth can only move if the bone holding them tight is able to slightly loosen. Don’t worry, once the teeth are in their final position, the bone will stabilize and they will no longer feel loose.
Brackets can be broken from the tooth and wires can shift during treatment.
As you learn to live with your braces, sometimes brackets become unglued from the tooth. This is not an emergency! If this happens, please give our office a call and we will find a time to repair your bracket. Remember, repeated damage to appliances will likely lengthen your treatment time! Your teeth will only move to their corrected position if there is consistent pressure in place.
Wires may shift, or even become loose, during treatment. If the wire is causing irritation, you can place wax over the area temporarily and give the office a call so we can find a time to make you comfortable.
If you are in activities and sports, we recommend a mouthguard.
We want to make sure your teeth and lips are protected while completing orthodontic treatment. If you are active, we recommend you wear a mouthguard. Let your doctor know if you have questions about finding the right mouthguard for you!
If you experience an emergency while playing sports, be sure to thoroughly inspect your mouth for tooth and/or appliance damage! Should any teeth be loose or displaced, please call the office right away. Any minor injuries affecting lips or cheeks can be treated with wax and a warm salt water rinse.
Our dentists and staff at the Tooth Doc give special attention to making children’s dental visits fear-free.