Some children do not see the time to have their orthodontic appliances because they see them as a sign that they are reaching adolescence. Others, on the other hand, care about how they will feel or look.
Regardless of how your child feels, you probably have your own questions and concerns about orthodontic appliances (including the payment method!). Below you will find information about children and orthodontic appliances.
Why children need braces
The causes for which a child may need orthodontic appliances are diverse: crooked, overlapping or crowded teeth, or a bad bite (called “malocclusion”). The malocclusion occurs when the size of the upper and lower jaw do not match. When the upper jaw is larger than the lower one, the bite is called an overbite. When the lower jaw is larger, it is called an inverted bite.
Sometimes, problems with the teeth and the jaw are due to the falling of the baby teeth too soon, to accidents or habits, such as thumb sucking. But often the problems are hereditary. Therefore, if a person in the family needed braces, children may also need them.
Often, your child’s dentist will be the first to notice problems during a regular checkup and will recommend that you see an orthodontist (a dentist who specializes in correcting problems with the jaw and teeth alignment). The orthodontist can decide if the child really needs braces and which ones would be the best.
There is no fixed age for a child’s first visit to the orthodontist: some children go at age 6, others at 10 and some go when they are teenagers. Even adults may need orthodontic treatment. Many orthodontists say that children should see the orthodontist once permanent teeth start to come out, at approximately 7 years of age. At that age, problems such as an uneven bite or crowding of the teeth are already visible.
The fact of starting the process at an early age does not mean that the child will have devices immediately. It simply means that the orthodontist can detect the problems and decide on the best time to start treatment.
First visit to the orthodontist
During the first visit, the orthodontist will examine your child’s teeth, mouth and jaw thoroughly. You may be asked to bite with your teeth together and may ask questions about whether your child has trouble biting or swallowing, or if his jaw is ever locked.
The orthodontist may take an x-ray of the mouth and teeth to see how the teeth are located and if there is still a permanent tooth to leave. You may also take a mold (or impression) of your child’s teeth by pressing a small plaque with a rubbery material against the upper and lower teeth. Once the mold is removed and the material hardens, the result is a replica of your child’s teeth, which will allow the orthodontist to decide on the best treatment options.