As popular as adult orthodontics is becoming it’s still nowhere near as large in scope as the amount of children and teens we treat. Braces are a part of life for countless young people, and those early years when they’re still growing are the ideal time to straighten teeth.
We get a lot of questions at Orthodontic Alliances about how best to schedule children’s orthodontic care. While the opportune age can vary ever so slightly for different patients it’s always usually the same: the earlier we see your children the better!
What’s The Perfect Age To See The Orthodontist?
If your child needs braces your dentist will likely let you know while they’re still fairly young. Dental professionals are trained to recognize the symptoms of malocclusion (a bad bite) well before the permanent teeth are all in and settled. In most cases your dentist will be able to refer you to one of our office well before your child has all their permanent teeth.
For most children the best time to see the dentist is when they’re seven years old. At this point your child will have likely lost some of their baby teeth and is growing into their adult ones. We can use precise X-rays and imaging to predict exactly where your children’s teeth will erupt and how precise their alignment will be, and in many cases we can treat them before those teeth even come in!
A Perfect Interception
We use a technique called interceptive orthodontics to adjust the position of your children’s teeth before they’ve even erupted. In some cases it’s entirely possible to avoid the need for full braces with a proper interceptive sequence.
That seventh year is a critical time for planning an interceptive treatment. We can use a variety of treatments to adjust your child’s teeth as they come in or even before eruption.
- Space maintainers are used to hold the appropriate area for a tooth that has been lost but hasn’t come in yet. These are perfect for children with crowded mouths or those who lose a tooth early.
- Palate expansion can correct an underbite before it’s even an issue, adjusting the size of the upper bridge so that teeth come in properly.
- In some cases we may remove baby teeth that need to come out to allow for proper eruption space. This is uncommon but can be great for certain patients.
- Fixed appliances can be placed to slowly move the baby teeth and guide the adult ones into place.
- Thumb sucking appliances are used to prevent overbites and other tooth irregularities that can result from the constant pressure that comes with that bad habit.
Interceptive orthodontics is great for a variety of patients: those with too small of an arch, overcrowding, or prematurely lost teeth can all find relief using these methods. In many cases interceptive care can save you money and time as well! Avoiding full braces and long-term, time-intensive procedures is great on your bank account and your child’s well-being.
For some children there’s still a need for traditional braces. These are the old fashioned bracket and wire systems that have been around for a long time, and with good reason: they really work great! When you come to one of our three locations for orthodontic treatment you’ll know that your child is in for a great new smile in just a couple of years.
Braces continue to be the preferred method of realigning teeth because we can easily control, predict, and plan treatment. In the case that we need to make a small change during your child’s orthodontic sequence we can easily do so because of how simple it is to control the movement of teeth using braces.
The two-stage approach to orthodontics that braces give us is perfect for a high level of precision and control. We start by moving the crown of the tooth and then the root so that we know the treatment will be safe, effective, and most importantly of all, permanent.
Don’t Wait To See The Orthodontist!
Even if your dentist hasn’t sent you to Orthodontic Alliances with a referral it can still be a good idea to schedule an initial appointment. By starting treatment early you’re putting your child’s future in mind – and saving yourself some serious money!
You can schedule an appointment at our Michigan City, St. John, or Portage office by calling 219-809-6584. You can also request an appointment online for easy, convenient scheduling. We look forward to seeing you soon!