A 100-watt smile does wonders for your self-esteem, and of course you want your little one to have that same confidence and pearly whites. If you’re considering a trip to the orthodontist or dentist for your child, here’s what you need to know.
Although there are cosmetic reasons for wanting to send your child for dental treatment, there are more valid reasons why it would be a great idea, like making sure he grows (and maintains) healthy teeth - for life.
When does your child need treatment?
- If he has crooked or crowded teeth, which are hard to clean and maintain.
- If he has a bad bite (when there's a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws). This can cause damage to the surface of your child’s teeth, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking and too much stress on supporting bone and gum tissue.
- When his upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, (called an overbite).
- When the lower jaw is bigger, (underbite).
These conditions can also cause discomfort while chewing.
Types of treatment
- Before a treatment option is chosen, the orthodontist might take X-rays of your child’s teeth to check for problems in alignment.
- A mould made of a soft-gooey material is usually shaped around your child’s teeth. This helps the orthodontist decide on the treatment that is needed.
- Your child’s teeth will also be examined and he will be questioned about any jaw, teeth or gum discomfort.
- Treatment may include the fitting of braces, which is fitted tightly over your teeth to straighten it over time.
How long does treatment usually take?
- If your child needs orthodontic treatment he might need one to three years of active treatment.
- During this period, he would have check-ups every four to eight weeks.
What is the best time to start treatment?
- Most orthodontic treatments starts between the ages of nine and fourteen, but your child might need earlier treatment depending on the condition of his teeth.
- Orthodontists can spot some problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
- If problems are spotted and treatment is started early, then there will be fewer problems when your child is older.
How can early treatment help?
- It will help guide jaw growth.
- Harmful habit like teeth clenching and grinding can be corrected.
- Will improve the appearance of your child’s teeth position and facial features, which will help with self-esteem.
Speak to your dentist if your child shows some of these characteristics:
- Uneven spacing.
- Early or late loss of baby teeth.
- Difficulty in chewing or biting.
- Mouth breathing.
- Jaws that shift or make sounds.
- Speech difficulties.
- Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth.
- Facial imbalance.