Many parents wonder about their children’s development, and wondering how their smiles are going to take shape is natural.
Orthodontic treatment is common and can not only improve your child’s oral health and straighten their smile, it can also boost their self-esteem.
What do I need to know about orthodontic treatment for children?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist by their seventh birthday. This may seem young, but it is actually the ideal age for a few reasons. First, it allows us to see how the smile is taking shape – there will typically be a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth, which allows us to get an idea of how the adult smile is going to form. But it also allows us to do any needed orthodontic work while the jaw is still growing, giving us the best chance for the least invasive treatment and preventing more severe issues from popping up.
At Sturbridge Orthodontics, we treat patients of all ages. The science behind moving teeth is the same whether you are 7 or 67, however, the earlier we can treat orthodontic issues, the better. Older patients have more issues to take into consideration, and younger patients have the advantage of a still-developing jaw that can be guided.
Benefits of early interventive treatment
Some patients who visit us at the age of 7 may be deemed ideal candidates for early interventive treatment. This is performed in two phases. We begin by focusing on proper jaw growth, guiding the jaw to ensure there is adequate space for all permanent teeth to erupt. Some patients may require appliances such as palatal expanders to help accomplish this.
Phase two of treatment is the straightening phase. Once all of the permanent teeth have erupted, braces or clear aligners will be used to guide them all to their ideal locations. This phase is usually much more efficient because the first phase took care of the heavy lifting of guiding the jaw.
We know that the adolescent years can be hard enough without the worry of showing up to school with braces. However, it’s important to consider the issues that could arise if you skip orthodontic treatment. Straighter teeth aren’t just prettier, they are healthier, too. And misaligned jaws can cause a host of problems, from chipping, cracking and break, to pain.
The good news is, today’s treatment options are more discreet than ever before. Invisalign aligners are virtually invisible, and there are clear braces options to choose from, as well. But even if you opt for traditional metal braces, our braces are sleeker and more efficient than ever.
We will discuss all treatment options with you, and let you know which we believe is the best for your child’s smile.
Adolescent treatment depends on factors specific to your child
Every smile is different, and every treatment is different. It is important to keep in mind that more severe orthodontic issues will take more time to correct. However, patients who have undergone early interventive treatment can often see shorter treatment times during the straightening phase than their peers who have not. It is important to maintain all of your appointments because we sometimes have to make adjustments to treatment to ensure our goals will be met. Your child must also comply with all of our care instructions and guidelines during their time in treatment. The average patient can spend anywhere between 12 and 36 months in treatment.
Orthodontic treatment is an investment in your child’s future
A beautiful, straight smile can lead to a lifetime of good oral health and positive self-esteem. We know the cost of treatment can sometimes seem daunting, but it is an investment in your child’s future. We work hard to make treatment affordable, and will work with you to help find a solution that can fit within your budget. Dental insurance will often help pay part of the cost – our financial coordinators will help ensure you receive all of the benefits outlined in your plan. No one should ever have to choose between their child’s oral health and their family’s budget.