Tooth decay is one of the most common issues pediatric dentistry deals with. It is an oral problem that affects children and adults, but the former are more susceptible to it for several reasons.For starters, children have thinner layers of enamel which makes their baby teeth more vulnerable to decay. A child is also more…
Who Needs Early Orthodontic Treatment?
Considering early orthodontic treatment for your child? Read on to learn more. Many dentists refer children to an orthodontist at an early age to allow for a proper evaluation of the teeth. Evaluations are necessary at a young age to determine if early orthodontic treatment is necessary. Early orthodontic treatment can be quite beneficial over time, making for better form and function, while also ensuring good oral health.
Children are typically referred around the age of seven when permanent teeth begin to erupt. In some scenarios, the evaluation can be done by their own dentist. However, in other cases, a referral to an orthodontist is required. Evaluations outline any existing problems that may indicate a need for pre-orthodontic care, otherwise known as early treatment. Outlined below are a few common scenarios in which early orthodontic treatment is likely needed. Parents can review this information when trying to determine whether or not their children need early orthodontic treatment.
An overview of candidates for early orthodontic treatment
1. Children who have bite problems
Children who exhibit underbites, overbites or crossbites at a young age may require early orthodontic care. Bite problems can lead to serious complications with the entire oral cavity later on in life. If the jaw continues to develop with an uneven bite then the child may suffer from chewing, speaking and smiling problems.
2. Thumb-sucking children
Children who suck their thumbs at a young age are putting their teeth at risk, whether baby or adult teeth. Thumb-sucking leads to protruding front teeth, which can increase the risk of injury. Additionally, it can cause problems with the entire oral cavity. The lips can be developmentally altered and the jaw can narrow due to the sucking action. Early orthodontic treatment addresses any protruding teeth or a misshapen jaw, while also helping the child kick this bad habit.
3. Children that have protruding teeth
As stated earlier, protruding teeth put the entire oral cavity at risk. When a child's teeth stick out too far, they are much more likely to get injured, which can also result in injuries to the lips, nose and gums. Thankfully, early orthodontic treatments can address the protruding teeth by correcting the positioning of teeth through a fixed appliance like braces.
4. Children with crowded teeth
Crowded teeth can prevent the proper development of the jaw, leading to a wide range of oral health problems. When teeth are too close together, it is difficult to clean them properly, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Early orthodontic treatment helps correct crowded teeth before they cause more severe problems.
5. Children with spacing problems
Spacing problems are often caused by missing teeth or huge gaps between teeth. If left untreated, spacing issues can lead to trouble eating, speaking, and smiling. Additionally, the surrounding teeth may begin to shift into empty spaces, which can cause further complications. Early orthodontic treatment helps close gaps between teeth and prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting.
6. Children with cleft lip or palate
Cleft lip and cleft palate are two conditions that often require early orthodontic treatment. These conditions cause spaces in the mouth that make it difficult to eat, speak and smile properly. They can also lead to other serious oral health complications if left untreated. Early orthodontic treatment helps close the spaces caused by cleft lip and cleft palate and improves the mouth's function.
7. Children with a family history of orthodontic problems
If there is a family history of orthodontic problems, such as crowding, spacing, or bite problems, then it is likely that the child will also experience these problems. Early orthodontic treatment can help prevent these problems from becoming more severe later in life.
8. Children who have suffered an injury to the face or jaw
Children who have suffered an injury to the face or jaw are at risk of developing orthodontic problems. The injury can cause the teeth to become displaced, leading to crowding, spacing, or bite problems. Early orthodontic treatment can help to realign the teeth and prevent further complications.
The bottom line
Parents that are not sure about early orthodontic treatment can consult with an orthodontist to learn more. In general, orthodontic care at an early age can be quite beneficial for a child's long-term health. However, not everyone reaps the same benefits, which is why taking a child for an evaluation is the best place to start. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment.
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