Similar to how a child needs to start dental checkups early on in life, parents need to consider taking their child to the orthodontist at a young age as well. While parents do not need to bring their children to the orthodontists until around the age range of 7 to 9 years old, visiting an orthodontist in the periods of adolescence is recommended.
Contrary to belief, baby teeth hold more importance than just being the first stage before permanent adult teeth. While baby teeth are obviously useful in chewing food, they are also useful in directing where the adult teeth will grow in. Since it can sometimes be difficult for parents to keep their child’s dental hygiene in check, a child’s baby teeth may fall out prematurely. When this happens, there is a chance that the adult teeth will not grow in properly and end up overlapping each other. This can lead to overcrowding and some teeth pushing other teeth out of place.
With pediatric orthodontics, we can lay out the groundwork for a healthy and straight set of teeth in your child. At Kling Orthodontics we can make sure that your child’s teeth are set up for a healthy future with a variety of orthodontic techniques. At this stage, a child may be too young for braces but may be at the right age to wear an expander.
What is an expander?
When it comes to pediatric orthodontics, braces will not be the main solution for every issue. Since a child does not grow in most permanent teeth until closer to 10 or 11 years of age, an expander might be the better option before considering braces. In order to help the teeth move into place and other teeth to grow in straight, Dr. Angela Kling may recommend an expander.
An expander goes on the roof of the mouth behind the teeth. The expander will gently push the palate outwards and create more room for the adult teeth. Given that each child has a unique set of teeth, not all children will need or benefit from an expander. At Kling Orthodontics we will recommend the best choice of expander or other oral appliance for your child after Dr. Angela Kling can examine the condition of your child’s teeth.
There are alternate forms of expanders and other oral appliances, at our disposal, to help make room for more teeth. The palatal expander is one version of an expander that a child might wear. This expander involves placing a metal plate on the roof of the mouth and adjusting it with a small metal key. By gradually adjusting the expander, we can continue adding pressure and expanding the palate. This can seem complicated, but wearing an expander will help the teeth have enough room to grow in straight and healthy.
If you are concerned about how your child’s teeth are coming in, the best thing to do is schedule a consultation. Dr. Angela Kling can examine your child’s teeth, provide more information about pediatric orthodontics, and explain what the best options are.
We do not recommend that children wear braces until more of their adult teeth have come in. Wearing braces too early in life will only prolong the process. Parents may not realize the dangers of their child living with crooked teeth or an overcrowded mouth. With crooked teeth, a child will have a greater chance for plaque and food particles to become stuck. If the child cannot take proper care of his or her teeth, there is a greater chance for infection or tooth decay.
A few tips to know
Before getting braces, a child can use an expander to prevent the teeth from growing in the wrong way in the first place. In other cases, fixing the jaw alignment is crucial to avoid facial asymmetry. At a certain point, a child will not be able to wear an expander to grant more space for teeth and surgery will become the necessary option.
It is no surprise that children dislike wearing expanders or braces. However, childhood is the best time to correct the teeth, since the child is still growing. Wearing braces or other dental appliances as an adult will cost more money than wearing the appliances as a child. Fortunately, a child may only have to wear an expander for around three to six months. While the timeframe can change on a case by case basis, most children will not have to wear one for their entire life.
Parents or children that are afraid of feeling pain during the procedure do not have to worry. The staff at Kling Orthodontics will create a welcoming and comfortable experience for the patient. Dr. Angela Kling will be careful and gentle during the installation procedure as well. While the child may feel some soreness for a few days after the procedure, the payoff will be worth it when the child’s teeth begin to grow in properly.
If you feel that your child needs an expander or another form of orthodontic treatment, do not be afraid to contact us at (636) 660-0525 for more information. We will be happy to set up a consultation with Dr. Angela Kling and find the best treatment for your child.
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