5 Things You Must Know About Your Child Before Braces

19 May

Did you know that 70% of children have malocclusion, a term used to describe a misalignment of teeth, a poor bite, or a problem of the upper and lower teeth fitting together when biting or chewing? This, if left untreated, can lead to difficulty chewing, crowding of teeth, overbite, gum disease, increased decay or cavities, jaw joint problems, headaches or migraines, and even mouth breathing.

 Think about it! 70% of our children have this and can be diagnosed and treated by the age of 7. It could be critical to their health, well-being, self-esteem and comfort, yet more often than not, parents are told to wait until the kids are 12 years of age or older! In some of these cases, by the time you wait until your child is 12 years old, they may require tooth extractions or even surgery to fix the problem. This is more implicated in our children’s health than just the cosmetic and self-esteem aspect of their well-being. There are 5 critical factors that all kids need to be checked for when choosing when and if to treat with appliances and braces.

 1.    Habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrust, lip biting, nail biting, pencil biting)

The first one is habits. Does your child suck his or her thumb? Does he or she have tongue thrust which has created a space between the upper and lower teeth? Thumb sucking, very often affects the shape and size of their jaw. Tongue thrust can cause an open bite. Moms often worry about the way their children look when they have some form of malocclusion because it can severely affect their self-esteem. These little kids come into my office and they are extremely shy. The main reason seems to be that they don’t have a normal bite or their teeth aren’t straight. The minute you fix the malocclusion, their whole personality changes. It’s remarkable what braces can fix.

 2.    Mouth Breathing

Chronic mouth breathers can have severe health consequences. Mouth breathers do not get as much oxygen as patients who breathe through their nose. Most mouth breathing is due to a constricted airway caused by allergies, or enlarged tonsils or adenoids. If these problems persist, they can eventually lead to snoring or sleep apnea, resulting in severe health consequences such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke. Most malocclusions or bad bites are caused by mouth breathing. Malocclusion can lead to headaches, ringing in the ears and/or fainting or dizziness. Early screenings around the age of 4 can be extremely beneficial. Lack of oxygen due to mouth breathing can also lead to insomnia and other conditions such as ADD.

3.    Surgery or Extractions Before Braces

Early treatment of orthodontic problems is the key to NOT extracting teeth and NO surgical intervention. Parents and patients prefer to be treated without having to extract teeth. It is imperative to the success of early treatment to make room for all the adult teeth, and to help achieve a beautiful, broad smile. Early treatment can also be used to reposition a deficient lower jaw forward without surgery while the child is actively growing.

 4.    Aesthetics and Facial Profile

The most common type of malocclusion is a Class II malocclusion which is depicted by a child whose chin is pushed back or their upper front teeth are flared forward. Historically, this type of malocclusion was treated with tooth extractions and headgear. This type of treatment, however, fails to take into account the effect it has on the child’s face and resulting profile. Not to worry, we have many other options such as appliances and braces to help your child!

 5.    Crowding

In many cases, orthodontists will do either surgery or extraction of teeth. There is another option, which does not include surgery or extractions and results in a healthier jaw joint, open airway and better aesthetic results.

Children should be screened for appliances and braces and often treated by the age of 7. If your child has any of the following, they may benefit from treatment.

  • Functional Problems
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Tongue Thrust
  • Thumb Sucking
  • Grinding or Clenching
  • Narrow Arches

The benefits of early treatment are numerous. We would like to provide a FREE CONSULTATION to answer any and all of your questions relating to your child.

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