Will My Child Need Braces?
As a parent you closely watch the fascinating process of your child’s early development. You may take note of all of those baby teeth coming in while your toddler’s excited about all the new things to eat and chew on! As the years go on, the very anticipated baby tooth loss starts to happen. While a flurry of excitement surrounds the tooth fairy’s arrival to collect that prized tooth, you may already be preoccupied by thoughts of your child’s teeth and long-term health. Then comes the big question — will my child need braces? And if so, when?
When it comes to dental wellness, seeing an orthodontist is an essential step in your child’s life. Getting braces is not only about having straight teeth and a beautiful smile but about creating and maintaining dental health in the long run. This includes having healthy gums and teeth as well as avoiding tooth decay that happens from overcrowding and misalignment. While we most commonly see adolescents and teenagers with braces, it is never too early to begin treatment for your child. We recommend seeing children as young as age seven so that we can properly monitor their jawbone and teeth development. Starting supervision appointments this early, however, does not mean we recommend treatment that early for most patients. In fact, removing baby teeth and using braces too early can cause problems if not absolutely necessary.
How Young Should A Child Get Braces?
You know that good oral hygiene is an important part of your child’s development, but you may be wondering exactly when to seek orthodontic treatment. Some orthodontists and dentists believe it’s good practice to extract baby teeth, or primary teeth. They then use braces to align the remaining baby teeth before the permanent teeth come in. Although baby teeth are only temporary, they serve as placeholders for the permanent set of teeth growing beneath the surface. Once the permanent tooth is ready to come in, the primary tooth’s roots dissolve, making the baby tooth fall out easily. The permanent tooth then comes in within a few weeks.
Issues can arise when a baby tooth falls out prematurely, gets accidentally knocked out, or a doctor extracts it for a separate reason. Since the missing tooth is no longer keeping the other baby teeth in place, they may start to shift around and become crowded or impacted. This will ultimately influence the way the remainder of the permanent teeth come in, creating long-term dental issues and the need for orthodontic procedures later in life. Braces for baby teeth can create an easy pathway for permanent teeth to come in and lend to long-term dental health for your child.
Always See An Orthodontist Before Extracting Baby Teeth
If your child is referred for primary tooth extraction, be sure to get a second opinion first. While baby teeth fall out naturally, there are times when extraction can be very helpful. Reasons for extraction may include crowding or impacted teeth and developmental delays. Be sure to get a professional’s opinion to see if orthodontic adjustments can be beneficial to your child prior to tooth extraction. Consulting with your doctor may also help determine the best time for early treatment, as it varies greatly depending on your child’s growth and development.