Most experts recommend that children have their first appointment with an orthodontist when they’re around seven years old. By that age, some of their adult teeth will have grown in, and it will start to be apparent if they are developing problems that will require an orthodontist’s attention. Common orthodontic problems include overbite, underbite, crossbite, crowded teeth or a narrow upper jaw. Some options offered by orthodontists include the following treatments.
Self-ligating braces can be made from either metal or porcelain. They have a slide mechanism attached to the brackets that allows the wire to move with the teeth. Self-ligating braces use less force than do traditional braces, so they cause the patient less discomfort. The patient doesn’t need to use elastics, either. These kinds of braces are the traditional type we are all familiar with.
The palatal expander is an orthodontic device commonly used in young children who have crossbites and/or crowded teeth. It can be fixed or removable, and it can be made of metal or plastic. The orthodontist attaches the expander to the upper arch either with plastic over the teeth or bands placed around them. Over time, the expander increases the width of the palate and thus provides more room for the child’s adult teeth and corrects some bite problems. It works since the bones in the mouth don’t completely fuse until the patient reaches their early or mid-teens.
Invisalign is a procedure that uses removable clear plastic trays to straighten teeth. Invisalign offers a number of advantages. As they are transparent, they are less immediately noticeable than other types of braces. According to Family First Dentistry LLC, Invisalign trays are easy to clean than other types of braces because they are removable. The patient also has an easier time cleaning and flossing their teeth. Invisalign works best for patients who have most or all of their adult teeth, so it is generally an option for teenage kids and young adults.
Space maintainers are orthodontic appliances used if a child loses a baby tooth prematurely. The device keeps the resultant space open so the permanent tooth can grow into it easily, and it prevents other teeth from shifting into the vacated space. There are many types of space maintainers, and they can be made of metal or acrylic. They can also be fixed or removable. Space maintainers are custom made by orthodontists or dentists. The type used depends on the type of tooth that is missing, and the number of teeth missing.
Your children’s teeth are an important component to their overall health. Check with your local dentist to see if any of these devices can help your children keep their smiles healthy and gleaming.