All parents, especially those who had experience with their own teeth being straightened, are concerned about whether their children will need orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontists like Dr. Song have years of additional training and experience using a wide variety of tools and techniques to help patients with every kind of challenge with teeth coming in crooked or crowded. Like every adult, each child’s oral health condition is different and, depending on whether preventive measures or treatments are early enough and aftercare is effective, a negative outcome can be avoided.
The second most common disease is cavities (only colds are more frequent), but periodontal disease (the infection of the gums that can cause loss of teeth) is the bigger issue. Anyone whose permanent teeth do not come in perfectly will likely have regular dental problems, especially if they are not taught how to brush and floss effectively from an early age.
The usual time to bring in a child to Dr. Song for a full exam is seven, when enough permanent teeth have generally emerged to allow her to assess what may need to be done to maintain optimum oral health. But some children can already be at that stage at six, while others may not have adult teeth coming in until eight.
A digital full-mouth x-ray will be necessary, but this involves minimal radiation and is necessary to be able to see the underlying jawbone from which the teeth are emerging and into which they are rooted. Dr. Song will be able to see if there is already an underbite, overbite, or crossbite (a misalignment of the upper and lower arch). She can note if the jaw is small and if this will likely result in crowded teeth, which are hard to keep clean of cavities and periodontal bacteria. The first permanent teeth may be coming in crooked or there may be gaps between them. Dr. Song will probably need to take a mold of the child’s teeth to study before recommending orthodontic treatment.
If preventive measures need to be taken for the little patient’s future oral health, children’s braces are generally the most effective approach, especially for complex cases, and they can now be made of a clear material. All need to be taught the proper way to brush and floss when wearing braces, as well as the importance of avoiding sticky and hard foods, which can damage braces (which typically take a couple of years to prevent a lifetime of trouble).
In some milder cases, clear plastic aligner trays can be worn, which can be taken out when eating or drinking, so there would be no dietary restrictions.
Set an appointment today to have your child’s orthodontic future assessed.