When should parents consider braces?
Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2010 12:02 pm
By: Dr. Randall LeDuke
WCP 7.27.10 In the olden days, when you, your husband and the world were young, kids were referred to the orthodontist about the time all baby teeth were shed and adult teeth were erupted.
If there was dental crowding present, some teeth were usually removed to make enough room in the arch to spread out the teeth.
Then the braces were attached and when the crowded teeth were unraveled and in the right places, you were through with treatment.
Today orthodontics, which means “straight teeth”, also involves orthognathics, meaning “straight jaws”.
Many problems with the alignment and arrangement of teeth involve the alignment and the shapes of the bony jaws within which the teeth reside.
Often the upper arch is too narrow or, perhaps, the upper and lower jaws don’t line up correctly. These are problems that should be addressed while the child is still growing.
If treatment is postponed until all permanent teeth have erupted, the opportunity to achieve proper jaw shape and alignment may have passed leaving only surgical options to achieve these corrections.
Appliances can be used in young children to achieve proper size, shape and jaw alignment by taking advantage of growth potential at key stages in the child’s development.
We can actually develop the position and shape of growing jaws to accommodate the size of the child’s natural teeth rather than be forced to remove permanent teeth to relieve crowding.
We can create beautiful balanced faces and beautiful wide smiles. We can achieve handsome profiles instead of deep overbites and weak chins.
The key is early identification of these problems and interceptive therapies designed to correct them through directed growth.
Braces can then be used to arrange the teeth within properly shaped and aligned jaws.
The dentist can evaluate your child’s bite and jaw development as early as age four years. That’s certainly not too young to begin planning interceptive orthodontic therapies.