With summer approaching, it’s a good time for parents to start thinking about getting kids’ dental work done in the summer when missing school won’t be an issue. This can include things like braces and other orthodontic treatments. Orthodontic therapy works best when it begins before a child reaches the age of 7. In young children, skeletal and muscular structures are still developing and orthodontists can take control and direct this growth before problems become severe. Your child’s dentist will recommend a orthodontic consultation if she sees a need, but you can contact a orthodontist at any time if you have concerns or notice any of these signs that indicate treatment may be necessary.
Children typically start to lose baby teeth around the age of 5 and should have all of their permanent teeth by the age of 13. If your child starts to lose baby significantly teeth earlier or later than this, it could be a sign of orthodontic problems. See a orthodontist as early as you can: after the permanent teeth come in the jawbones harden, making orthodontic treatments take longer.
Problems Chewing and Speaking
Teeth that are overcrowded and misaligned often don’t come together properly during chewing. Frequent accidental biting of the cheeks, tongue or roof of the mouth can all indicate improper tooth or jaw alignment. Speech impediments may also be caused or aggravated by orthodontic issues and may be difficult to overcome without orthodontic intervention.
Children who continue to suck their thumb or fingers after age 5 often develop orthodontic issues. This occurs when the thumb applies pressure to the teeth, pushing them outwards or altering their position. In some cases this problem corrects itself when the sucking behavior stops, but orthodontic intervention is often necessary to bring the teeth back into proper alignment.
A child who struggles to breathe through his nose for any reason will naturally resort to doing so through his mouth. Chronic mouth breathing holds the mouth open at all times and alters the position of the neck, tongue, jaw and facial muscles. This can lead to a wide variety of problems including jawbone misalignment and facial distortion or elongation. Once the reason for the mouth breathing has been identified and treated, orthodontic intervention corrects any problems with jaw or tooth alignment caused by these muscular alterations.
Early orthodontic intervention helps patients avoid some problems altogether and corrects others before they become severe. Successful treatment can occur at any time, but younger patients are less likely to require tooth extractions and invasive surgeries. Don’t hesitate to consult an orthodontist if you feel your child may benefit from his care.
Information credit to York & Bay dental office who provide orthodontics in Hamilton.