A proper oral hygiene will help your child maintain healthy teeth, in perfect condition. But as the milk teeth fall and he get replaced by the permanent ones, sometimes getting the help of an orthodontist, a specialized dentist who helps correct and align teeth, is required.
The first visit to an orthodontist
In the past, orthodontic treatment was most usually conducted during teenage years. Today, however, many children begin orthodontic treatment earlier. Thus, the first visit to an orthodontist’s office is recommended around the age of 7-8, when replacement of primary teeth with permanent ones occurs.
When does a child need orthodontic care?
It is difficult for the parent to figure out when orthodontic care is needed, which is why it is good to bring your child in for a visit around the age of 7, even though he might still have milk teeth.
The first visit to the orthodontic will usually contain a series of recommendations. Following the consultation, the doctor will tell if the child’s orofacial muscles are good and can support a correct development of the teeth. Also, the specialist will report if there is an evolving problem to be monitored or if an early intervention is required.
The orthodontist can detect, for example, bad habits, such as pushing the teeth with the tongue or breathing through the mouth, things a parent might not necessarily notice.
However, there are a few signals that should get you thinking whether you should take your kid to an orthodontist office:
- Premature loss or delay of tooth change
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Bad mouth odor
- Thumb sucking
- Prominent teeth;
- Teeth raised in abnormal position;
- An unbalanced facial appearance. For example, when the lower jaw is abnormally high or small and does not seem proportionate to the rest of the face;
Orthodontic treatment consists of the use of various specialized appliances to properly align the teeth. Orthodontic treatment in children is done in two stages.
The first stage – interceptive treatment. It usually takes place between the ages of 7 and 8 years old, and lasts from 12 to 18 months. This treatment is indicated in order to properly make space for permanent teeth and maintain it.
The second stage begins when the most part of the permanent teeth erupted (around the age of 11) and correction of teeth position is required. This can be done with dental appliances.
Orthodontic interventions may include:
– Brackets – for anchoring orthodontic appliances;
– Elastic bands – for bite correction;
– Fixed or mobile dental appliances for training the orofacial muscles;
The duration of the treatments depends on the severity of the problem. It can range from a few months to two years. During this time, monthly visits to the doctor are required.