Why are so many young kids getting braces? Should braces be started when baby teeth are still present? Why not wait until all the permanent teeth are in? If you are a parent, these questions may sound very familiar to you.
The most important step in answering these questions begins with a comprehensive exam and accurate diagnosis by orthodontist, Dr. Rucker. He is an orthodontic specialist trained to diagnose and correct tooth alignment problems as well as facial skeletal growth imbalances.
Timing the start of orthodontic treatment while your child is still growing is critical in obtaining the best dental and facial outcomes. Sometimes this means getting braces started closer to age 7 when baby teeth are still present. We call this early or phase 1 treatment. If early treatment isn't necessary then we time the start of orthodontics around the adolescent growth spurt while your child is still growing and when all the permanent teeth are in.
How Your Child Will Benefit From Orthodontic Treatment
- Guided growth of the upper and lower jaws
- Improvement in facial balance and the way lips meet
- Dental arch development
- Broader more attractive smile
- Increase in airway
- Decreased risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correction of harmful oral habits, such as tongue thrust and thumb sucking
- Improved self confidence
- More effective brushing and flossing with proper tooth alignment
THE MOST COMMON REASONS FOR EARLY (PHASE 1) ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
Posterior Crossbite: Just like an underbite, the cause can be dental, skeletal, or a combination of the two. It also needs to be treated early for the same reasons. In addition, posterior crossbites also create crowding since the arch form is narrower than what it needs to be to match the larger arch form of the lower jaw.
Crowding: This is one of the most common reasons for early orthodontic treatment. Simply put, adult sized teeth are trying to fit in child sized jaws. This mismatch creates an obvious dental situation in which arch development, or widening, through orthodontic treatment is required to create space for permanent tooth eruption. Early correction can also prevent more serious complications such as tooth impactions.
Spacing: A large gap between the upper front teeth will almost never close without braces. Most often the gap is caused by the lip attachment, or frenum, being positioned too far down between the teeth. The excessive spacing takes up too much space for other permanent teeth to otherwise erupt normally.
Anterior Open Bite: This type of bite is typically created by a bad habit, such as tongue thrust or thumb sucking. The habit creates a skeletal imbalance, or malformed jaw, which in turn creates a dental problem. Eliminating the habit at a young age is critical in establishing normal jaw form and dental function.
Deep Bite (Overbite): Too much closure of the top teeth over the bottom teeth can cause gum damage to the roof of the mouth. It also causes the lower face to appear shorter and collapsed. It is important to correct a deep bite early to allow the back teeth to erupt normally, protect the health of the gums, and allow for better facial growth.