Does Your Child Need Orthodontic Treatment?
Many parents wonder whether their children need orthodontic treatment. Sometimes it is readily apparent that a child's smile needs support, and sometimes these problems go unnoticed except by a dentist.
Orthodontia for children and teens aims to correct a child's smile and dental function, setting them up for life-long confidence and improved dental health. Many different processes come into play, including early treatment, standard braces, clear aligners, and retainers.
Here at Embrace Orthodontics, Dr. Palermo will work with you and your child to create a custom treatment plan for optimum results.
What are Some Benefits of Braces?
Here are some of the orthodontic benefits that children can enjoy when they have braces.
While some people believe that braces are only cosmetic, professionals know that getting orthodontic treatment can affect a child's oral health for the rest of their lives. Bite issues may lead to worn-down or broken teeth, pain, and future dental problems.
Promotes Future Dental Health
When a child gets braces, their teeth have better alignment and are easier to keep clean. Crooked, crossed teeth trap plaque and bacteria, increasing a child's chances of tooth decay and periodontal issues. Tooth decay leads to expensive dental work, and potential loss of teeth.
Perhaps the most beneficial result from orthodontic treatment. The confidence provided by a straight, esthetic, smile is crucial in the development of a child or teen’s self-esteem. A smile that they can be proud of is an invaluable asset during a very difficult time in your child’s social development.
Interceptive orthodontics, or “Phase One Treatment,” refers to treating children early, before significant problems develop. Interceptive orthodontics begins at a young age, typically before age 9, and typically only lasts about 12 months. Although your child may still be losing their baby teeth, the bones of their jaws are very soft at this stage of development. Dr. Palermo can comfortably adjust the bones to accommodate their adult teeth without requiring surgery at this stage of your child’s development. Headgear, expansion appliances, and space maintainers can help to create room in the mouth for permanent teeth to come through correctly, as well as correct bite and alignment.
The benefits from interceptive treatment include reduced time in full braces once the permanent teeth come in, reduced chance of needing to extract healthy teeth to make space for all the teeth during full braces, and better facial structure and balance, leading to an overall better esthetic result.
Traditional braces are made up of brackets and archwires. The brackets are attached to each tooth using strong dental bonding materials, like cement. The wires are then inserted into the brackets, slowly moving the roots of the teeth through the bone. Adjustments are bent into the wires by Dr. Palermo to dial in the exact placement of each tooth in the mouth.
Clear aligners gradually shift teeth through the use of biologically safe plastic trays. As you progress through your sequence of aligners, teeth gradually follow into their new position. Each tray is typically worn for 10-14 days, allowing time for this movement before advancing to your next tray. Although clear aligners may not work as well as traditional braces in certain cases, they will work better in other circumstances. Dr. Palermo will help you decide if clear aligners are the best treatment option for your child or teen.
Retainers are a must after treatment with braces or clear aligners. Children and teens must wear their retainers as long as possible and perhaps indefinitely. Otherwise, the teeth may slip back to their original positions.
Why Choose Embrace Orthodontics?
Our caring, individualized practice provides a boutique atmosphere with the finest orthodontic care for kids, teens, and adults. We receive the most updated training to provide all orthodontic services at a high level. Look at our patients' smiles, and you will see how much our services have changed their lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are several questions that parents often need to ask orthodontists:
Does your office accept my insurance?
Although Embrace Orthodontics does not directly participate with insurance, we do go out of our way to work with your insurance to ensure you receive your entitled orthodontic benefits. Our experienced treatment coordinator will submit all necessary information to your insurance company, who will then send the benefit directly to you.
Do you accept payment plans?
At Embrace Orthodontics, we work with ORTHOFI. This flexible payment plan allows you to choose your down payment and select your monthly payments within a comfortable budget. No interest is accrued through your expected treatment length, and no credit checks are required.
Do you charge for consultations?
No, consultations are complimentary. We believe everyone should be educated on orthodontic treatment and are happy to see you for a new patient consultation.
When should my child see an orthodontist?
Children should initially see an orthodontist between ages seven and nine. At this age, your child’s teeth and jaws will have developed enough that Dr. Palermo can identify possible future issues and intercede, if necessary.
How often will the orthodontist need to see my child?
Appointments may be one to three months apart, depending on your child's treatment plan. Dr. Palermo may adjust the wire at each appointment so that the teeth move into new positions.
Can my child play an instrument or sports with braces?
Yes, children can play sports and instruments while they have braces. Parents should think about having their children wear mouthguards on the field. Mouthguards keep impacts from damaging the child's teeth or orthodontic appliances.
When it comes to playing instruments, it may take time for the child to become accustomed to playing with braces, but it is possible. The child's inner lips and cheeks need to become accustomed to the extra pressure exerted by the mouthpiece.
Will my child need to learn special oral care skills when they have braces?
Oral care is essential when a child or teen has braces. They must learn to brush and floss their teeth well despite the added wires and brackets. Floss threaders and interproximal brushes can get underneath the wires and reach the teeth and gums. Additionally, Dr. Palermo recommends using a Waterpik to replace flossing for your child’s comfort and ease.
Dr. Palermo or our assistants will teach you and your child/teen how to care for their braces properly. If you reinforce these lessons at home, your child will stand a greater chance of success and reduce their risk of white-spot lesions and cavities.
Does my child need to avoid particular foods when they have braces?
Braces wearers should avoid crunchy, chewy foods like candy, pretzels, nuts, chips, pizza crust, bagels, and ice. You should steer clear of crunchy vegetables as well. Other foods like corn on the cob, apples, steak or chicken wings and ribs can damage your braces. This can be avoided by cutting these foods in small pieces and eating with care.
When your child or teen gets their braces off, they can enjoy eating these foods again.
How long do braces take to work?
A child or teen may wear braces for as little as one year and as much as three. After braces treatment ends, a retainer helps the child's teeth stay in position. Ideally, the child or teen will continue to wear the retainer indefinitely to prevent the teeth from slipping out of place.