Orthodontic braces are the best, and most consistent way to straighten misaligned teeth and provide a perfect foundation for a lifetime of oral health. Like a concerned parent, we want your children and teens to enter adulthood with a brilliant smile ready to face the world. With the help of a Forest Family Team of dental specialists and professionals, we can help guide you and your family in the right orthodontic direction. We hope this overview can help answer some common questions:
When does my child need braces?
We want to ensure your children receive the best health and dental care available. With this in mind, your children begin seeing the family physician and dentist at an early age to attend to any immediate concerns, as well as taking preventive measures to avoid future problems. But when should you start talking about braces? How important is correcting their bite at an early age? Is future orthodontic treatment inevitable? These are all great questions with no simple answer, but a team approach and early childhood visits will help.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) suggests that children should be seen no later than age seven for their first orthodontic evaluation. However, using digital x-rays and a thorough evaluation, Dr. Bethell can measure tooth-space and catch any developing problems as early as three years old. This means that early steps can be taken to reduce the need for braces with the best possible outcome.
Shouldn’t I wait until all of my child’s permanent teeth are present before worrying about braces?
Just as a visit to the family physician early in life can minimize or prevent future treatment, an early examination can provide insights for the patient and the parent regarding future orthodontic treatment suggestions. In addition, preventive measures may be taken earlier to minimize the extent of future treatment. An ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure!
What types of treatment are commonly suggested?
Every child has unique concerns involving facial growth and tooth/bite relationships. As such, we want to provide every child with a short and long term treatment plan that is tailored to his/her specific needs. At an early age, the plan may consist of short-term forms of treatment to help guide jaw growth, improve the bite, eliminate thumb-sucking habits and provide a better environment to encourage the development of the permanent teeth into their proper positions. This plan may also entail monitoring the growth and development of the teeth and jaws without the need for any interceptive treatment at an early age. As the child reaches an older age, hopefully the need for braces is reduced, but often it is required.
Will braces hurt?
The honest answer is that some discomfort is expected, and we know that not many kids want to have “metal mouths” for their class pictures. Fortunately, the science of orthodontics has evolved, and we are now able to provide more comfortable, more effective treatments with a reduced number of visits to the Orthodontist during the treatment period. For example, we now have clear or tooth colored brackets that allow tooth and root movement with results in as few as 6 months. These new techniques generally alleviate discomfort and lead to a very pleasant orthodontic experience.
The goal of orthodontics is to provide your family with a beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime.