By Vishant Nath DMD
Most parents are not excited about the prospect of venturing into the area of orthodontics for their child. This sense of dread can come from the fact that their child is not looking forward to it, but can also stem from the added expense that sometimes comes with braces. But its important to remember that putting off, or ignoring the inevitable can just make things more difficult and expensive. In fact, early orthodontic treatment can make things easier for both parents and children.
Early and regular visits to a pediatric dentist can make diagnosis and treatment of orthodontic issues much easier. A pediatric dentist can identify malocclusion at its early stages. Malocclusion is the presence of crowded or crooked teeth, or bite problems. Intervening at an early age can allow the teeth to be guided in the right place as they emerge into the mouth. This type of treatment can often prevent more extensive and potentially costly treatments done at a later date.
There are several causes of malocclusion. These include dental injuries, the early loss of primary teeth, or habits such as thumb sucking, fingernail biting or lip biting. A pediatric dentist can provide helpful advice on how to break these habits and therefore prevent orthodontic problems in the future.
The most obvious benefit of orthodontics is in improving the appearance of the patient’s smile, but there are much greater benefits to consider. Pediatric orthodontics can help to straighten crooked teeth, guide erupting teeth into position, correct bite problems and prevent the need for tooth extractions. Also, straight teeth are much easier to keep clean and healthy through regular brushing and flossing.
There are different types of orthodontic appliances. Some are fixed and some are removable. During orthodontic treatment, dental hygiene is more important than ever. Developing good oral hygiene habits will allow for the orthodontic treatment to work as intended. Its important to brush and floss regularly to keep both the teeth and the orthodontic appliance clean. In addition, regular dental check-ups (along with orthodontic check-ups) can protect against tooth decay and gum disease. Finally, it’s important to contact the dentist promptly if and when an orthodontic appliance breaks to keep the treatment on-track.
Ask your pediatric dentist about early orthodontic treatment for your child to minimize the level of treatment and get your child’s smile to be the best it can be!