Kids can need braces for any number of reasons. They may have crooked, overlapping or overcrowded teeth, or they may have a bad bite known as malocclusion. Malocclusion is when there’s a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. When the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, it’s called an overbite. When the lower jaw is bigger, it’s called an underbite. Tooth and jaw problems can be caused by losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits such as thumb sucking. They are also often inherited, so if you or someone in your family needed braces, it’s likely that your kids will, too.
Your child’s dentist will be the first to notice problems during a regular visit and recommend that you see an orthodontist. The orthodontist can decide whether your child does indeed need braces and which devices would be best. There’s no set age for a child’s first orthodontist visit, some kids go when they’re 6, some kids go when they’re 10, and some go while they’re teens. Even adults can need orthodontic treatment. Many orthodontists say kids should see an orthodontist once their permanent teeth start coming in, around age 7. At this age, issues such as uneven bite and overcrowding will become apparent. Starting the process early doesn’t mean a child will get braces right away. It just means the orthodontist will be able to find problems and decide the best time to start treatment.
Your First Orthodontic Visit
At the first visit, the orthodontist will thoroughly examine your child’s teeth, mouth, and jaw. He or she may ask your child to bite the teeth together and may also ask questions about whether your child has problems chewing or swallowing, or has ever had clicking or popping of the jaw. The orthodontist may take X-rays of the mouth and teeth to see how the teeth are positioned and whether any permanent teeth still need to come in. He or she also may make a mold of your child’s teeth by pressing a tray of gooey material into the top and bottom teeth. When the mold is removed and the material hardens, the result is a replica of your child’s teeth that will allow the orthodontist to decide which treatment options are best.
Keep Your Smile Healthy with Affinity
Affinity Dental has six dentists and provides a variety of services from pediatric dentistry to orthodontics. Affinity Dental is capable of meeting all your needs. With 170 combined years of treating a variety of dental needs, Affinity is committed to providing quality dental care. To get your teeth back into good health and make your smile bright, call us at 410-719-7900 or contact us online. For other useful tips on dental care follow us on Facebook.