Addressing issues with the teeth early on can vastly affect the outcome of treatment. Although it’s never too late to begin your journey to a beautiful smile, actions taken as early as age 7 can benefit your child. Correcting orthodontic issues in children is essential, since they’re still growing, which makes these measures more effective. Here are three ways to fix early orthodontic issues.
1. Partial Braces
Partial braces are just that…they are not a full set of braces and only go on a few select teeth. This form of treatment is recommended when a child has an issue that can be helped early on, but doesn’t have all of their permanent teeth yet. Partial braces can be put on the top or bottom teeth and work for issues, such as:
- Spacing issues
- Crowded teeth
- Protruding teeth
This type of treatment calls for brackets to be placed on the front four to six teeth, then on the back molars to help keep the wire in place. Although temporary, and a full set of braces will be recommended in most all circumstances, this type of treatment can last anywhere between 10 and 12 months.
2. Retainers and Expanders
Since a child’s mouth is still growing, it’s the best time to correct any issues affecting the jaw. Palatal expanders are used to expand the dental arch, thus alleviating painful jaw problems, like TMJ. Retainers may also be recommended to correct minor issues. Most patients will still need braces to fully correct their orthodontic issues, however, utilizing equipment such as expanders and retainers often shortens the duration of treatment.
3. Breaking Bad Habits
Habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrusts can have detrimental effects on the alignment of the teeth. This type of pressure on the teeth can cause a host of problems, such as gaps forming between the teeth or protruding front teeth. It can also lead to an open bite, which makes eating and speaking more difficult. It’s important to keep in mind the effects of these bad habits and find ways to correct them early on.
There are multiple ways to break these bad habits through various exercises and equipment. Appliances are available to aid in correcting tongue thrusts. Typically worn at night, these devices block the tongue from protruding through the top and bottom teeth. Eventually, this helps to break the child of this habit and keeps their teeth where they belong.
Addressing Early Orthodontic Issues
A child’s mouth between age 7 and 10 is growing and developing, which means these issues are easier to correct. Once development is complete, the treatment can still be done, but it will most likely be more extensive and may need to include surgery. Addressing early orthodontic issues is essential to the overall success of a child’s orthodontic treatment plan and can aid in the prevention of issues with the teeth and jaw later in life.