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Braces for children

Pediatric orthodontic problems, many times referred to simply as malocclusion, meaning “bad bite,” include problems of missing teeth, extra teeth, jaws which are out of alignment and crowded teeth. Most of these type problems are inherited but some can present as the result of an accident, thumb sucking, or losing baby teeth later in the child’s life than normal.

As kids get older, their bite and the straightness of their teeth can become an issue. Orthodontic treatment begins earlier now than it used to, but what once was a symbol of preteen embarrassment — a mouth filled with metal wires and braces — is a relic of the past. Kids as young as age 7 now sport corrective appliances.

Dentists know that manipulation of teeth at a younger age can be easier and more effective in the long run. Orthodontic treatment with children and pre-teens is shorter than an adults’ because the bone around a young child’s teeth and the jaw bones can still be molded by dental braces as the child continues to grow. Younger children's teeth can be positioned with relatively minor orthodontic devices, preventing major treatment later on.

We at Gainesville Dental Arts in Gainesville, do the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental irregularities. Orthodontic treatment corrects the alignment of teeth, jaws and lips and prevents physical health problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties.

Please call 703-743-2324 for an appointment and visit us at Gainesville Dental Arts in Gainesville.

When to begin Pediatric Orthodontic Treatment?

The ideal age for starting treatment ranges from three to twelve years of age. It is important that an orthodontic evaluation be done at an early age which is why, at Gainesville Dental Arts in Gainesville, we are alert to these types of problems, and advice parents, and make referrals to an orthodontist whenever there is a known problem or any question that may need a specialized evaluation.

The average orthodontic treatment time is about 24 months but will vary with each patient depending upon the severity of the problem, the general health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone. Also, a factor in the length of time for treatment is the commitment from the patient in following instructions and following general dental health care.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?

It is usually difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the front teeth look straight. Also, there are some problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Our initial exam is comprehensive and informative, and we would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.

At What Age Does My Child Need to Consult for Braces?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age seven. An orthodontic screening no later than age seven enables the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems that exist, advise if treatment will be necessary, and determine the best time for the treatment. Early detection of any orthodontic problems is important in order to take early corrective action and avoid more difficult treatment later.

Is Orthodontic Treatment Painful?

Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, braces make your teeth tender and sore for a few days, but it is not painful. This annoyance can be relieved with an OVER- THE-COUNTER analgesic such as Tylenol or Motrin. Today’s braces are more comfortable and use technology that reduces the discomfort. We use the latest in biocompatible braces, the advanced technique with light force and the highest quality of orthodontic materials, in order to reduce discomfort and treatment time.

What Is Phase I (Interceptive) And Phase II (Comprehensive) Treatment?

Phase I, or Interceptive Treatment, usually starts while the child has most of his or her baby teeth and a few of his or her permanent front incisors. This stage in development is usually between the ages of seven and nine. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic problem early in order to reduce or eliminate it. These problems include skeletal discrepancies, cross bites, and severe crowding.

Phase I treatment takes advantage of the early growth spurt and turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This often helps reduce the need for extraction or surgery and delivers better long-term stability. Most Phase I patients require a second phase of treatment in order to achieve an ideal final bite.

Phase II treatment usually occurs a number of years later. Usually, we are waiting for the remaining permanent teeth to erupt, including second molars, before Phase II begins. This most commonly occurs at the age of 12 or 13. The goal of Phase II treatment is to achieve an ideal bite with all of the permanent teeth.

Does Everyone Need A Phase I Treatment?

Not every child needs a Phase I treatment. Only some children with certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most, if not all, of their permanent teeth erupt. However, it is still important that every child be evaluated by age seven.

What Is The Duration Of Orthodontic Treatment?

Most patients are in braces for 6-24 months. Treatment time depends on the development of the dentition, the severity of the problem, patient cooperation, and the degree of tooth movement required. In rare instances, usually due to a very difficult case or a non-compliant patient, the treatment may take longer than 24 months.

What Is The Difference Between Extraction And Non-Extraction Therapies?

Each treatment is a way to address crowding of the teeth. Extraction therapy is a technique where one or more permanent teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in the mouth. This is in contrast to non-extraction therapy where one expands a patient’s jaw and/or adjusts the size and shape of some teeth to make them fit within the jaw. Our office’s treatment philosophy is very conservative, and we do make every effort to avoid extraction. However, for severe crowding and severe jaw discrepancy, the extraction approach may be required.

Is Orthodontic Care Expensive?

When orthodontic treatment is implemented at the proper time, treatment is often less costly than the dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop years later. Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products. Financing is usually available, and many payment programs that will be offered to you will meet your needs. In addition, many insurance plans now include orthodontics.

Encourage your kids to use a mouth guard during sports, which can prevent serious dental injuries.

We at Gainesville Dental Arts in Gainesville know when to refer you to a different type of specialist, such as an orthodontist for correction of teeth irregularities or an oral surgeon for jaw realignment.

Please consult Dr. Kaur if your child has irregular teeth. Call 703-743-2324 for an appointment and visit us at Gainesville Dental Arts in Gainesville.