Are you wondering about orthodontic care for your child? Perhaps you’ve noticed some issues with your child’s teeth or your dentist has mentioned a misaligned bite pattern. Your dentist may recommend that you take your child to an orthodontist. But your child still has some baby teeth that haven’t come out yet. Can a child get braces with baby teeth still in place?
Yes, they can. But that may not necessarily be the best course of action. There are a wide variety of orthodontic treatment options to correct issues and prepare the way for correct teeth alignment and bite in the future. Orthodontic treatment looks different for every patient.
When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
It is recommended that children see an orthodontist by the time they are 7 years old, some even earlier for complex issues. By this age most children have some permanent teeth in place and some baby teeth still in place. But if all of the permanent aren’t in yet, what’s the point of starting orthodontic treatment? Why straighten teeth that are just going to fall out?
For one, baby teeth still serve a purpose. Your child needs teeth to chew their food and speak properly. Many speech issues are related to orthodontic problems. Another reason is that the baby teeth pave the way for the permanent teeth to come in. If the baby teeth are in the correct position, the permanent teeth can also come in the correct position.
The Purpose of Early Orthodontic Intervention
If there is a developing orthodontic problem early in a child’s life, seeing an orthodontist sooner rather than later can help to intercept the problem. Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth with braces. Sometime it is necessary to guide the growth of the jaw and facial bones and make room for incoming teeth. If there is already crowding in place with the baby teeth, the larger permanent teeth won’t have enough room. Early orthodontic treatment can correct smaller issues before they become larger issues.
Two Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Early orthodontic intervention is usually part of a two phase orthodontic treatment plan. Phase one, the early treatment, prepares the way for phase two. Phase two usually includes braces and is applied during adolescence when the child is experiencing rapid growth. Hormones during adolescence allows the body to grow in great strides which actually aids in the success of braces and other orthodontic treatments. This may occur at different ages for different patients, but typically between the ages of 10 and 13. Many children still have baby teeth in place at this age. Your orthodontist may recommend pulling them to allow the permanent teeth to come in, or they may just remain in place until they fall out on their own.
What Types of Treatments Are Used in Early Orthodontics?
Early orthodontics, or phase one, may consist of a few different interventions, such as:
- Palate expanders. A palate expander widens the upper jaw to make more room for the teeth in place and the teeth coming in.
- Extractions. Some baby teeth or even permanent teeth may need to be pulled to make more room in the mouth to avoid crowding.
- Space holders. After teeth are extracted, a place holding retainer may need to be worn to keep the space open for the permanent teeth to come in.
- Braces. Sometimes braces are used in early orthodontics to move the teeth into correct alignment and correct bite issues.
- Functional Appliances such as bionator or reverse headgear to improve jaw bones relationship, provide more space for the tongue, improve patients facial profile and esthetics and to avoid jaw surgery later on.
Have Questions About Braces? Castle Hills 3D Orthodontics Has Answers
If you have other questions regarding braces and orthodontic care for your child, Castle Hills 3D Orthodontics would be happy to answer any questions you have. It is never too soon to have an orthodontic evaluation. It’s possible that your child will not need any treatment at this time, but it is also possible that some early intervention could go a long way in preventing further orthodontic issues down the road.