We recommend that you bring your child to our orthodontic office in St. Peters when they turn seven years old. Typically, we will not fit them for braces at this time but it allows us to see the current state of their teeth and bite and make a determination of where we feel that their teeth will end up. This appointment can be important for your child’s health because there are steps we can take now in preparation for braces. Sometimes, these steps can even prevent the need for braces. Here is what you should know.
Overcrowding is a major issue.
For kids that struggle with crooked teeth, overcrowding is often the issue that leads to their smile problems in the first place. This tends to happen when teeth fall out too early, for example if your child knocks out a tooth on the playground a couple of years before the adult tooth is ready to come in. What ends up happening is that the surrounding teeth start to move and encroach upon the space that was reserved for the adult tooth. As they do, the new adult tooth has nowhere to go. Sometimes their palate can change as well, and as it does, teeth become so overcrowded that you can have teeth growing in sideways or behind one another. This is an issue that we can look for during their first examination.
If your child does suffer from overcrowding, there are a few solutions that we can employ. We can begin by using spacers. These are small metal bands that surround the teeth to make more room in between them. While subtle, spacers can create the room that is necessary. Otherwise, we may recommend that your child uses an expander. In our orthodontic office in St. Peters, we can secure an expander to the roof of your child’s mouth. An expander pushes the palate outwards in order to change its overall size. This is a common treatment that most children become accustomed to in a matter of weeks. With an expander in place, your children may be able to avoid common overcrowding issues so that their teeth can grow in straight.
In addition to examining their teeth, we will also evaluate the condition and position of their bite and how the upper and lower teeth fit together. If they have an overbite, crossbite, or under-bite, this is something that will need to be corrected with braces. However, there are oral appliances that we might be able to use now before braces are ever placed on their teeth. The benefit of doing so is that it allows your child to begin their treatment younger and get their braces off younger as well. This reduces the chance of them needing to wear braces in middle school when they may be more self-conscious about it. It also helps to prevent any discomfort that can come from a misaligned bite.
There are many ways that we can help your child now and as they grow. To learn more, schedule an appointment with our orthodontic office in St. Peters.