The Shocking Truth About Baby Teeth and Orthodontics
Orthodontists recommend seeing children for their first evaluation by the age of 7. Children of that age still have their baby teeth, but their molars should have come in by then. Having early assessments can help to diagnose and correct some potential issues before they become problematic. However, it does not mean that braces will be put on baby teeth.
Usually, braces will be put off until the permanent teeth are all in. However, if the orthodontist notices an issue with misalignment of the upper and lower jaw or a protrusion of the upper teeth due to thumb sucking, he or she may want to fit the child with an orthodontic device to help the future teeth to grow in correctly. The term for early intervention techniques for children typically too young for braces is called interceptive orthodontics.
In the evaluation appointment, the orthodontist will observe, inspect and ask questions about the teeth and jaws. Some of the problems they look for are:
- Jaw popping
- Trouble closing correctly
- Trouble chewing
- Misalignment of the upper and lower jaws
Crossbites and protruding front teeth are two conditions that usually will require interceptive orthodontics.
Some of the treatments may be palatal expanders to widen the arch of the upper jaw, habit breakers for thumb sucking or lower palatal expanders to straighten teeth that lean in toward the tongue. If left untreated, the permanent teeth may not have enough room to grow in without crowding or crossbites. Correction can allow permanent teeth to erupt in the correct alignment.
Sometimes the problems need a phased approach. If there are skeletal issues from a congenital malformation or an accident, a young child may need initial orthodonture. A subsequent treatment like braces may be required once their permanent teeth are in.
If the orthodontist does not see the need for immediate intervention, he or she may ask for interim follow-ups to watch how the teeth are erupting and how the jaw is growing. Having periodic follow-ups can allow the doctor to use intervention techniques if needed at any point. Otherwise, the child may be allowed to wait until all the permanent teeth are in to be fitted with braces. Once braces are applied, they may also be combined with other orthodontics such as headgear to get the best result.
Initial orthodontic evaluations are complimentary. Even if your child still has baby teeth, they may need treatment. Make an appointment with an orthodontist like John Redmond Orthodontics, to find out more about how they can help keep your or your child’s teeth healthy.