If your kid has misaligned teeth that have affected their appearance, smile, chewing, or speaking, reading this page can provide useful information. This article provides what you need to know about orthodontic problems in children, diagnosis, appropriate age for orthodontics, outcomes of untreated malposed teeth, treatment, and cost of orthodontics for children. Reading this page will be helpful for any responsible caring parents.
What is orthodontics treatment?
Before going into the treatment stages, you need a clear understanding of orthodontics definition.
Orthodontics is a special subject in dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, or management of dental and jaw discrepancies treatments.
In a common way, orthodontics is the act of straightening dislocated teeth back to their normal position.
Appropriate age to start child orthodontics
Orthodontists believe that the best age is when children reach 7 years old. Whether starting from younger or older ages, it all depends on the type of treatment. All in all, 7 years of age is the best as we explain some factors below.
Why should correction start from 7?
The prior goal is the perfect position of permanent teeth. Orthodontists’ main job is managing permanent teeth development. We start orthodontics when primary (baby) teeth fall out (as a result, permanent teeth begin to develop). By the age of 7 to 8 years, most of the baby teeth had fallen out, and permanent teeth develop. Therefore, it’s the best orthodontics treatment time.
Do all kids need orthodontic treatment?
No! Not every kid needs orthodontic treatment. If you as parents don’t have occlusal instability (teeth and jaw discrepancies), your child may not inherit the orthodontic problem. And If you don’t see bad habits or behaviors (like thumb sucking or mouth breathing) in your child, it is more likely that they don’t need a visit to the orthodontist. Most importantly, if pediatric dentists don’t see any teeth development problems, again no treatment is required.
What are the most important orthodontic problems in children?
The most important problems that are usually seen in the early ages:
- Imperfect position of one or some of the teeth
- Late or early development of the permanent teeth (causing malformation)
- Overcrowded teeth
- Gap between the teeth (more than 0,5 millimeters)
- Malocclusion (upper and lower teeth) with jaws closed
- Severe upper jaw deformity (known as overbite)
- Lower jaw sticking out (known as underbite)
- Position of upper teeth inside the lower teeth on each side of the jaw (known as crossbite)
What are the main causes of orthodontic problems?
Heredity and genetic problems are causing malocclusion in children. It is not children’s fault when they inherit teeth or jaw deformities. Your children can experience the same problem that you have. Sometimes, some bad habits, such as thumb sucking, pacifier use, or other objects that children bite, can cause these misalignments in their teeth over time. Mouth breathing, reflux, and inability to swallow properly are also major factors in creating orthodontic problems.
How should I know my kid needs orthodontics?
Pediatric dentist’s diagnosis
Visit a pediatric dentist earlier even when the first baby teeth appear (around 6 months). Also, examinations can be done periodically until most permanent teeth come out. If there is a need for teeth correction or treating any oral and dental deformities, they can refer you to an orthodontist.
Diagnosis based on appearance and heredity
In addition to the problems we mentioned earlier, some of which can be detected without dentists’ help, there are some more obvious factors, such as heredity and appearance of the parents, which have been passed down to the children. By noticing occlusal problems, dental misalignment or seeing any signs below, take your children to the orthodontist’s office:
14 signs that your kid needs an orthodontist’s interference:
- Early fall out of baby (primary) teeth and late eruption of permanent teeth
- Chewing problems
- Mouth breathing
- Making sounds in jaws while children speak or chew
- Articulation disorders
- Habitual lip biting or biting interior parts of cheeks
- Chronic gum disease
- Tooth decay (even when brushing, flossing or mouthwash is practiced)
- Asymmetric face
- Teeth grinding
- Abnormality in appearance
- Headache, earache, or pains in the jaw
- Orthodontic problems among family members
- Damage to the teeth, jaw, and face of the child as a result of physical injuries or trauma
11 reasons to do orthodontics in early ages
With the early diagnosis of orthodontic problems, you can start the treatment. Initial orthodontic treatment can reduce timely orthodontics later and help your children in the following ways:
- Eating well
- Having a good speech production manner
- Breath well
- Perfect dental occlusion
- Higher self-esteem than before their treatment
- Socialize easily
- Ability to make friends
- Not having difficulty with oral and dental health
- Increase well-being
- Prevent tooth decay (as a result of teeth discrepancies)
- Decrease the high cost of orthodontics in the future
If you don’t practice orthodontics with the children, they will get into these situations:
Ignorance of the problems leads to much worse dental conditions. These outcomes follow one another. For example, untreated dental and jaw deformities will take many severe forms:
- Tooth decay
- Gum diseases (gingival, periodontal,…)
- Losing teeth
- Breathing problems
- Low self-esteem
How to address orthodontic problems in children?
We try to put forward the gist of orthodontics treatment in 2 phases here:
It starts from 7 to 12 years in children. During this growing age, helping to widen the palatal area is a priority. By that, we mean teeth fit well in the jaw bones so that there is enough space for permanent teeth to erupt. They use functional orthodontic devices like a palatal expander. This is also called preventive treatment.
What kinds of treatments are practiced in the first phase?
The correction treatments in this part are:
- Bad habits of thumb sucking and reaching out to front teeth with the tongue
- Airway correction in the oral cavity
- Bite problems such as deep overbite, underbite, and crossbite
- Overcrowded teeth
- The problems with the size of the jaw
The time needed for the first phase:
This phase takes 9 to 18 months and is a facilitator for the next phase. In other words, it helps your children wear orthodontics braces for a shorter period in the future.
The second phase of orthodontics treatment in children
As the development of the permanent teeth gets to its end, we start to work on the second phase of treatment. We use fixed and rotary orthodontic instruments to complete what we have done in the first phase. This phase takes months or years to do.
How much does orthodontics in children cost?
This is a frequent question of all. Without examinations and radiography, it is not a good idea to say the exact amount of price.