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Orthodontics for Children

Orthodontics For Kids: Smiles in Progress

Children’s dental health is extremely important. As parents, our mission is to ensure the best possible care for our little ones, and a crucial part of this care involves orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment for children is about more than just getting a perfect smile; it lays the foundation for lifelong dental health and function. Here, we will cover everything you need to know about orthodontic treatment for children, including the best time to start and what to expect throughout the process.


Understanding Orthodontics for Children

Orthodontics is a special part of dentistry focused on identifying and treating misaligned teeth and jaws. Although orthodontic treatment is commonly associated with teenagers wearing braces, starting treatment earlier can often lead to better outcomes. Early intervention can lead to more effective and lasting corrections. This sets the stage for a healthier, lifelong smile.


Common Orthodontic Issues in Children

Many of us aren’t born with perfect teeth, and sometimes, little dental issues can turn into big problems as we grow. That’s why it’s crucial to identify and treat orthodontic issues early on. It not only helps in achieving a beautiful smile but can prevent more complex problems. Here are some common conditions that can benefit from early intervention:

  • Crowding: If there isn’t enough room in your mouth for all your teeth, they might crowd each other, leading to crooked teeth that are hard to clean and look uneven.
  • Spacing: Sometimes, you might notice gaps between your teeth. These can happen if teeth are missing or their size is smaller than average.
  • Overbite: Notice if your upper front teeth overlap your lower teeth a lot. That’s when the top teeth stick out more than the bottom ones. It can make your teeth wear down and even make your jaw hurt.
  • Underbite: An underbite is when your bottom teeth stick out more than your top teeth, unlike an overbite, where the top teeth stick out more. This might also make your teeth wear down and even make your jaw hurt.
  • Crossbite: It can be worrying to see upper teeth biting behind the lower ones. This is called a crossbite, and it can lead to uneven wear on your teeth.
  • Open Bite: If there’s a big gap between your upper and lower teeth when your mouth is shut, that’s called an open bite. This can make chewing difficult for you and might even affect your speech.

Spotting these problems early can help make your mouth healthier and give you a smile you feel good about. If you notice any of these problems, let’s chat with our orthodontist. They can guide you through the options and help set things straight!


When to Start Orthodontic Treatment

The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that children should start their first check-up for orthodontics by age 7. At this stage, most kids have a combination of baby teeth and permanent teeth, which enables orthodontists to spot any issues with dental alignment or jaw development. This timely assessment can be crucial for addressing issues before they become more complicated.


Types of Orthodontic Treatments for Children

As parents, we all want our children to have the best start in life, and that includes a healthy, confident smile. Orthodontic treatments can play a crucial role in achieving this. Each child’s needs are unique, and so are the solutions available to them. Here’s an overview of common orthodontic treatments for different needs and ages:

  • Traditional Braces: Often known for their metallic appearance, these braces involve brackets bonded directly to the teeth and connected by wires. They may not be the most attractive, but they are very effective at addressing complex dental issues.
  • Ceramic Braces: These work just like traditional braces, but they are designed with tooth-colored or clear brackets and wires to blend in better with the teeth. They are an excellent choice for kids who are uncomfortable about their smiles during treatment.
  • Invisalign for Teens: Perfect for older kids and teens, Invisalign involves a series of clear, removable aligners that shift the teeth gradually into place. It’s a less noticeable option that still packs a punch in effectiveness.
  • Palatal Expanders: These devices, which are used to make the upper jaw wider, can help make room for teeth to line up correctly. This is useful for teeth that are crowded together.
  • Headgear: Sometimes necessary for more severe bite issues, headgear applies pressure to the jaw to help guide its growth and correct the bite. While it might seem scary, it’s a game-changer for some children.

The proper treatment depends on a thorough evaluation by an orthodontist, who will consider your child’s specific dental health needs and developmental stage. Remember, the goal is to ensure not just a great smile but also a functional one that contributes to overall health and well-being.


Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic intervention offers many benefits for a child’s dental health and overall well-being. Treating misalignment early can stop more significant problems later and may mean fewer primary treatments in the future. Moreover, having teeth that are correctly aligned simplifies cleaning and maintenance, which reduces the chance of getting cavities, gum problems, and other health issues related to your teeth.

These interventions do more than straighten teeth; they also contribute to a child’s confidence by improving their smile, which can lead to better social interactions. Additionally, orthodontic treatments play a crucial role in facial development and function, guiding proper jaw growth to ensure a balanced facial profile and a healthy bite. This can significantly improve the child’s ability to speak and chew effectively, enhancing their quality of life.


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Expectations During Treatment

Starting orthodontic treatment is a big commitment for both children and their parents, involving several stages to ensure the best results. The process begins with an initial evaluation, where the orthodontist does a detailed examination using X-rays, photographs, and dental impressions to understand the child’s current dental alignment. This assessment is crucial to developing a personalized treatment plan that meets specific needs. The actual placement of braces or aligners marks the start of the active phase of correction.

As treatment continues, regular check-ups become a normal part of your child’s life. These adjustments, whether they involve tightening braces or moving to the next set of aligners, are essential for gradually shifting the teeth into their correct positions. It’s critical to keep up good oral hygiene throughout this period; it prevents dental issues such as decay and gum disease, which can complicate the treatment process. Children, with the guidance of their parents, must stick closely to cleaning routines, possibly incorporating tools like interdental brushes or water flossers to clean around braces. Moreover, following the orthodontist’s directions for care and how long to wear braces or aligners is important for achieving the desired results. The orthodontist will monitor the progress, making adjustments as necessary to ensure everything stays on track towards achieving a healthy, beautiful smile.


Maintaining Results After Treatment

After the active phase of orthodontic treatment ends, maintaining the achieved results is crucial and involves a commitment to ongoing care. Retainers are critical in this stage; they are usually recommended to prevent teeth from gradually shifting back to their original positions. Children need to wear their retainers exactly as directed by their orthodontist to maintain the beautiful results of their treatment.

In addition to wearing retainers, regular dental check-ups are very important. These regular visits let the dentist keep an eye on your child’s mouth’s health and fix any problems quickly, ensuring that the teeth remain in good condition. Furthermore, having lifelong oral hygiene habits is essential. Children should continue to brush and floss thoroughly and maintain regular dental appointments. This consistent care is the key to enjoying a healthy and bright smile.



Looking for the best dentist in Langley to address your child’s dental needs? At Langley Dental Group, we understand that orthodontic treatment for children goes beyond just creating a straight smile; it sets the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health and functionality. Our Langley Digital Smile Plan offers personalized treatment options, including addressing concerns such as gummy smile or irregular tooth alignment. With services ranging from periodontal gum cosmetic surgery to indirect restorations like porcelain veneers and dental bonding, we’re equipped to transform your child’s smile. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our skilled team to guide your child on the path to a healthier smile.

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