December 19, 2018
Does your child need orthodontic treatment?
Do you or your child need orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment. How will I know when to go or take my child? At every six month dental exam at Wild For A Smile, your child will have an orthodontic examination to assess any orthodontic needs that your child may have. A referral to the orthodontist at the proper time will be made if there is concern with any current or developing situations that can be mitigated with early orthodontic intervention. Early intervention can help prevent the loss of permanent teeth or to help promote healthy growth from both a dental and skeletal standpoint.
The pediatric dentist may refer your child to an orthodontist around age 7 (known as phase I). Reasons for the referral may be due to:
- a dental cross bite
- a skeletal cross bite
- an underbite
- blocked out teeth (no path for permanent teeth to erupt)
- skeletal discrepancies
- excessive overlapping or deep bites
- open bite (teeth do not touch or overlap)
- disproportional jaws in relation to one another
- skeletal discrepancies or dental/facial anomalies
- sustained injuries
Your child may not need early intervention but may be referred to an orthodontist from age 10-14 (known as phase II or comprehensive treatment) depending on when the baby teeth are gone and the permanent teeth have erupted. Phase II maximizes an ideal esthetic and functional bite. A stable bite leads to a harmonious TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) to avoid TMJ joint dysfunction in the future that can lead to painful arthritis within the joint.
When being referred to an orthodontist, different modalities can be used to get to the same outcome. Depending on the treatment needs, appliances, invisalign and braces can be used alone or in conjunction for the best outcome. You may also want to get a second opinion to find a doctor that best meets your child’s needs and desired outcome based on how they plan to move forward.
Is my child ready for braces?
Orthodontics requires a patient to participate in the treatment. It requires the patient to follow the orthodontist’s instructions. The patient must be able to keep meticulous hygiene, wear elastics or other appliances as prescribed by the orthodontist. If the patient does not follow the instructions, the outcome could be compromised if the braces are taken off early due to poor hygiene leading to scar formation, early removal due to non-compliance with appliances not being worn or poor behavior. The above factors are so important before you decide to move forward with your child’s orthodontics treatment. Many parents want their children’s teeth to be perfect but the child does not want braces. Listen to this big red flag. If they do not want braces, they are likely to not take care of them or use the appliances prescribed by the orthodontist. Some kids want them but are simply not interested in taking care of their teeth prior to having braces placed. Again, a big read flag that this child is not ready for what lies ahead. Your child MUST be motivated or braces can do more harm than good.
Picture is post orthodontic treatment after braces were removes early due to poor hygiene resulting in demineralization around the brackets leaving permanent scars on teeth.
Some parent’s ask “does my child have to have braces or is it just for cosmetics?
The answer can be one or the other or both. When you are referred to the orthodontist be sure to ask if it is a functional reason that your child needs braces or is it simply cosmetic. Most recommendations are made based off of function needs unless a parent or the patient asks for a referral because they want straight teeth. Our duty as pediatric dentists is to recognize a malocclusion and to inform the parent or guardian. Consequences to not following through with a referral can lead to damage to the roots of permanent teeth, longer time in braces at a later age, the loss of teeth that did not erupt when they were supposed to because they were stuck and could not erupt. As an adult, not having proper alignment of teeth can lead to periodontal (gum) issues so consider correction, with braces, before periodontal disease begins.