What to Know Before Your Child Gets Braces

We hope our teeth last us a lifetime. Sometimes, we experience crowding, excessive wear or even jaw issues because of teeth alignment. Finger sucking, tongue thrusting and other habits can also cause teeth to malfunction. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see children and teens wearing braces. Over the years, orthodontics has advanced with a wide range of techniques and knowledge about how our teeth function, leading to better treatment options.

photo credit: @jibarofoto accessed 03/12/20 via CC0

Routinely bringing children to the dentist gives both the dentist and parents an idea of how a child’s smile is developing. Your dentist will assess not only for cavities, but also for how the teeth are lining up.

For younger children, pacifier use and thumb/finger sucking commonly lead to an open bite. This is where the top teeth do not overlap the lower teeth. Typically, children will outgrow these habits before the permanent teeth start to come in, and the alignment will not be disrupted. There are times when the habit hasn’t been stopped and orthodontic intervention may be needed early. This can involve palatal expanders and other devices which can help realign the teeth.

There are other cases where the permanent molars are not lining up as they come in. Often, dentists can spot these issues early on and may recommend an early consultation with an orthodontist to review options. Sometimes, there is a two phase process of orthodontics that can be started earlier to prevent more work later.

Missing baby or permanent teeth can also lead to an orthodontist visit and eventual braces. It is important that you see the dentist and have necessary radiographs taken so that these problems can be detected early. A panoramic x-ray is usually taken to asses that all permanent teeth are present under existing baby teeth.

Here in Rochester, Minnesota, we have several great orthodontists that can sit down and go over all treatment options with you. You may be referred early by your general dentist so that we don’t miss any possible treatment that could be done to ensure the proper alignment of your child’s smile. The orthodontist may tell you and your child to come back every 6 months to a year for monitoring, either until your child loses more baby teeth or until they are ready to begin orthodontic treatment.

When your child begins treatment, it is important to keep up on routine dental visits. Your dental hygienist may recommend cleaning the teeth every 3 or 4 months instead of 6. Brushing and flossing with braces on can be a challenge. Flossing tools, such as the Water Pik, may ease the process. Electric toothbrushes are another great tool to use – even before braces – to help with hard to reach areas. Your dental hygienist will go over these options with you and your child.

Establishing routine care is key for achieving the best results before, during and after orthodontic care. Schedule an appointment with our Rochester dentists today.

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Family Dentist Tree is a family-oriented dental office located in Rochester, MN. Whether you need a cleaning, filling, crown, root canal, treatment for gum disease, or teeth whitening, we are here to help you with all your dental needs. We serve all ages, and our offerings include family dental care and senior plans. Request an appointment online or call us at 507-288-1188.