Taking care of kids’ teeth seems straightforward enough, but it can easily get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day life. There are also facets of tooth care for your child that you may not be aware of. For example, the importance of early orthodontic treatment.
Early treatment catches tooth problems that might be difficult and expensive to correct in the future. It can also identify and eliminate habits like thumb-sucking that disrupt tooth formation and jaw development, and can correct any issues with speaking or eating that your child might be experiencing. Straightening extremely crooked or misplaced teeth can increase your child’s self-confidence as well.
How To Look After Your Kids’ Teeth
You may wonder why caring for your child’s baby teeth is so important since they will just fall out after a few years, but taking care of certain issues aids in jaw development and proper spacing, making their smiles that much healthier later on. Introducing good oral habits at a young age also teaches your child how to care for their teeth in the future. Here is how to look after your child’s teeth.
- Start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as they appear
- Go for regular dental and orthodontic checkups
- Avoid sugary foods and beverages
- Teach your young one how to clean their teeth when they are able to do it on their own
- Lead by example by taking care of your own teeth and brushing and flossing with them
- Let kids pick their toothbrush
- Watch videos and read books on oral hygiene
Why Orthodontic Care Is Necessary at Age 7
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic checkup by age seven because children have enough permanent teeth for accurate evaluation. Intervention at this age can also reduce the amount of treatment needed later.
You can address the following issues with early treatment:
- Narrow jaw
- Posterior crossbite
- Anterior deep and open bites
- Protruding front teeth, or buck teeth
Early Orthodontic Treatment Categories
The issues needing to be corrected determines the right orthodontic treatment. Here are some possible options.
- Invisalign First: Invisalign First uses clear plastic aligners to correct positioning issues in a growing jaw. By gradually readjusting the jawline, these custom trays correct tooth protrusion, expansion, aesthetic alignment, and crowding. The orthodontist will recommend the proper number of aligners and monitor progress.
- Palatal expanders: Your child may need an expander if their jaw is not large enough to accommodate permanent teeth. If your baby has a narrow palate, expanders enlarge the jaw, often eliminating the need to pull teeth as a teen or adult.
- Traditional braces: Braces have metal brackets attached to the teeth with wires running through them. Unlike Invisalign, your child cannot remove traditional braces. Traditional braces correct crooked teeth and bite problems.
- Retainers: Retainers maintain tooth positions after treatment. They can be removable or fixed. As the name suggests, you can take off removable retainers before eating and flossing. A permanent retainer is a metal wire that holds teeth in place from behind. Fixed retainers are primarily used for lower teeth. Your child might wear a retainer after early treatment and before they get braces or Invisalign as a teen.
See an Orthodontist
Early treatment is not necessary for every child. However, you can only determine their orthodontic needs by visiting an orthodontist. At Smith Orthodontics, we track a child’s oral development for free until noticeable jaw and tooth misalignment issues arise and treatment is needed. Schedule an appointment for your child in Ripley or Parkersburg today.