Why Orthodontic Prep Work Saves Your Child Some Pain
Early orthodontic evaluation helps your kids’ dentist better treat certain dental problems.
If you have a young child between the ages of six and eight, your family dentist or pediatric dentist has likely spoken with you about the need for your child to have an early orthodontic evaluation. This is a natural step and is one of the things your dentist is preparing for as your child’s teeth are evaluated during those early years. An early orthodontic evaluation helps your child’s dentist take advantage of the fact that your child’s jaw is still growing. And though not all children will need orthodontic work, the earlier the need is identified, the better. That way, any issues can be solved faster and with more straightforward methods. This means less treatment time and an overall more comfortable and pain-free orthodontic experience. Specifically, the following dental conditions are best treated and corrected when they’re caught early.
- Underbite (when the lower front teeth are sitting in front of the upper front teeth)
- Crossbite (when the jaw shifts to one side)
- Intense crowding
- Excessively spaced teeth
- Extra teeth
- Missing teeth
- Teeth that meet abnormally or don’t meet at all
- Pacifier-sucking or thumb-sucking that affect tooth or jaw growth
There are generally one of three outcomes during an early orthodontic intervention with the dental team at Pediatric Dental Specialists in North Platte, Nebraska.
- No treatment is expected to be necessary.
- Your child may need treatment in the future, which means we will monitor your child’s dental condition closely as their face and jaw continue to grow.
- We have identified a dental problem that may benefit from early treatment.
In most situations, when we identify a dental problem and recommend early treatment, we generally employ one of the following interventions.
A palatal expander is a tiny orthodontic device fitted to your child’s mouth. The goal of this device is to create a broader space in the upper jaw. Palatal expanders are a standard solution for both children and adults when tooth overcrowding exists when or the upper and lower molars don’t fit together as they should.
Dental space maintainers are designed to create open space for permanent teeth to grow in if your child loses their baby teeth too soon. Though it might not seem like a serious dental concern at first, failure to address a gap can lead to expensive dental problems and treatments down the road.
On occasion, your child’s pediatric orthodontist may suggest a tooth extraction. This is often a need when there is an infection under the tooth, commonly referred to as an abscess. Tooth extraction is also necessary when your child has a cavity so big that there is not enough healthy tooth structure for a dental filling or crown.
The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Evaluation
When we were younger, it was quite common to not see an orthodontist until our teenage years, and for some kids, a visit to the orthodontist was unheard of altogether. But with modern medicine and our knowledge of the importance of straight teeth, early orthodontic evaluation has become somewhat of a standard in care for today’s elementary-aged children. This change in approach comes with good reason, too, as there are many significant benefits when your child is assessed for orthodontic needs early on.
Your child will benefit from an early orthodontic evaluation for the following reasons:
- Your child’s facial growth is not yet complete, making their jaw more pliable and accessible for the palatal expanders to do their job.
- Early treatment can help open up the airways and prevent breathing and sleeping issues down the road.
- Your child will experience improvements in chewing.
- Your child will be less likely to experience teeth grinding, commonly referred to as bruxism.
- You will likely save money, as early treatments tend to be far less costly than treatments that don’t commence until the child is older and more correction is required.
- Early treatment often means a shorter treatment period, meaning less time with braces or other orthodontic appliances.
Schedule an early orthodontic evaluation for your child at Pediatric Dental Specialists.
If your child is nearing or at age seven, now is the time to schedule an early orthodontic evaluation. And if your child is older and hasn’t been assessed, there is no time like the present to request an appointment. Pediatric Dental Specialists offers the best in North Platte pediatrics care for children who need early interventions for crooked teeth or other early orthodontic treatments. Your children will enjoy a friendly, fun, and supportive environment designed to help them form positive opinions about dentists, dental health, and orthodontics. Further, you’ll enjoy knowing your children are developing excellent dental care habits that will help them enjoy a healthier mouth as adults.