Ridgway Dental
09, Apr 2019

Children’s Orthodontics – What You Really Need To Know!

There are a few reasons why it might be necessary for your child to have orthodontic treatment. Common reasons for the need to correct teeth include:

  • Interceptive treatment to simplify later treatment as the baby teeth leave and the adult teeth grow.
  • Growth modification- using your child’s existing growth pattern to improve size and shape of the jaws
  • Crowding of teeth
  • Difficulty in adult teeth erupting into the mouth ( lack of space)
  • Correction of the bite to aid function

Essentially, it’s about making it easier to eat, talk, function,clean and hold onto a beautiful natural smile for life!

There’s no definitive age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, but it’s usually when the adult teeth start coming through to monitor smooth growth and development of the teeth and jaws.

The adult teeth begin to erupt often from the age of six. Treatment doesn’t usually start from this age, but identifying problems early ensures that effective orthodontics can begin at the best time for your child. Orthodontics involves monitoring growth and development of the skull and face. Usually your general dentist will identify the need for a specialist opinion with one of our specialist orthodontists. This will begin with an initial orthodontic assessment. This starts with an examination of the teeth and jaws and may be followed with an x-ray and a mould created of your child’s teeth to create an impression. This allows us to treatment plan your child effctively using the records taken and our clinical asessment. Your child will be asked some questions, such as: What bothers you about your teeth?- Is there anything you would change? Have you experienced any ulcers when biting together? Do you suck your thumb? Do you have difficulties chewing or swallowing?

An orthodontic treatment plan will be created, and a discussion of not only the aims of treatment, but what to expect during treatment and how to retain the teeth in their new desired position for the long term.

Throughout the journey you may have questions but initially we will discuss the type of appliances available, the length of time it will take, the avaliability of your orthodontist and the need to wear retainers to hold the teeth in their new desired position when the braces come off. Most children who have all of their adult teeth, embarking on orthodontics will have ‘fixed’ braces or “train tracks” These are the brackets, wires and rubber bands placed on the teeth and slowly tightened to increase pressure. These can be aesthetic and clear or colourful and metal or a mix of both Those children with a mix of baby and adult teeth may have “interceptive orthodontics”, these can be removable braces, and can be just as colourful or sparkly as the fixed braces. Interceptive orthodontics may be used to simplify treatment carried out later with the fixed braces. Types of interceptive orthodontics include widening of a narrow upper jaw as a result of thumb sucking or helping the growth of the lower jaw to improve your child’s profile. This is usually just a 1st phase of treatment and your child will be assessed after this phase before progressing to another stage of treatment. Timing is everything!

What do we expect from appointments and what are the risks of orthodontic treatment?

We will see you and your child approximately every 6-8 weeks to monitor the progress of the treatment and to add any necessary mechanics. Orthodontics works by active tooth movement with light forces over a duration of time. This will allow effective movement of the teeth but reducing any adverse risks to the teeth such as the roots shortening or the nerves and blood vessels being traumatised. We will give written and verbal diet and oral hygiene instructions as soon as the brace is fitted. This involves spending some time with your child to ensure that they take care of their teeth throughout treatment and beyond. Failure to comply with good oral hygiene will lead to scarring of the enamel , white spots and potentially tooth decay. Your orthodontist will monitor for this clinically- but your child must maintain regular appointments with your general dentist and hygienist as well.

What to think about after the braces come off!

After treatment has been completed, your child WILL need a retainer to prevent the teeth from moving back to their original position. These can be fixed to the back surfaces of the teeth or removable. LIFE LONG WEAR OF RETAINERS is PARAMOUNT TO PREVENT DISAPPOINTMENT AND TEETH SLIPPING OUT OF PLACE SLIGHTLY DURING THE AGEING PROCESS AND AS THE FACE CHANGES. We will check retainer compliance once the braces are removed for up to 1 year just to make sure that your child understands the commitment to long term retainer wear. It may seem overwhelming to think about all of the factors associated with the best quality of treatment for your child.- But if you do have any concerns about treatment, at any stage, or simply want a chat before you start the process – please get in touch with us either by email, or by phone 02089462255 for FREE orthodontic consultation..

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