A variety of tooth and jaw issues open up the door to orthodontics in a growing child.
Dr. McNeill or Dr. O’Keefe may point out that your child’s baby teeth appear crowded, or the relationship between the jaws isn’t ideal. While not generally the time for treatment, it may help you prepare for the possibility of future corrective care. As permanent teeth start to appear, usually around age 6, Dr. McNeill or Dr. O’Keefe monitors the process further and helps you decide if early orthodontic treatment makes sense.
Although the majority of cases involve teenagers, braces can play a role for some kids in their earlier years. Since permanent teeth are typically larger than baby teeth, space may need to be opened with the gentle force of braces. This allows teeth to move into place properly, helping avoid more extensive treatment later.
A narrow jaw or a large overbite may create a similar dilemma. Guiding jaw growth while your child’s developing can make a tremendous difference in the long-term outcome. Once the growth stops in teen years, the only corrective measure often involves surgery…always a good scenario to avoid when possible.
THE USUAL TRACK
Many youngsters benefit the most from orthodontics after baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth move into place. This classic case may start in the early teen years, leaving a nicely aligned and highly functional set of teeth going into adulthood. The length of time spent wired-up can vary, but average treatment time often falls around two years.
A variety of methods allow orthodontic treatment to solve nearly every possible scenario that appears, but successful treatment relies on good patient compliance. Wearing elastic bands consistently, keeping follow-up appointments for adjustments, and practicing outstanding home care can lead to a positive outcome. This commitment involves frequent preventive visits with your hygienist as well, a strategy that helps avoid cavities around brackets. The Little Creek Family Dental team specializes in helping our orthodontic patients enjoy a successful outcome: a gorgeous, healthy smile.