Orthodontics & Braces
Proper tooth alignment promotes healthy teeth, gums, and a functional TMJ. When teeth are misaligned for one reason or another, it can lead to complications like abnormal enamel wear and joint disorders. Even if your child doesn’t have naturally straight teeth, early intervention or traditional braces can help change that. Our St. Charles Orthodontist sees children, teens and adults in our office.
Does My Child Need Braces?
Orthodontic experts recommend an evaluation of all children by age 7. Since your child will have a combination of both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth at that time, it provides us with some insight as to whether any concerns need to be addressed.
Over time, we’ll monitor your child or teen’s oral development to see how certain teeth work their way into alignment. A full-mouth panoramic X-ray will allow some insight into the tooth formation, placement, and how they relate to one another within your child’s bite.
Depending on the child, early intervention treatments may begin as soon as elementary school, while other children don’t get braces until they’re in high school.
Early Intervention and Space Maintainers
The development of your child’s smile today will impact their facial anatomy in the years to come. Perhaps your child has crowding, a missing tooth, or something like a tongue thrust that’s moving the teeth irregularly. Even if your child doesn’t need full-mouth braces at that time, interceptive techniques such as a space maintainer, expander, or other appliances can improve oral anatomy throughout your child’s development. These early intervention steps reduce the need for more complex therapies later on.
Occasionally we’ll incorporate “Phase 1” braces, to guide teeth into proper positioning. This intervention will set the foundation for the rest of your child’s oral development, allowing the remaining permanent teeth to erupt in better alignment without as severe of crowding (or impacted teeth.) That way “Phase 2” braces (a few years later) will be more for minimal fine-tuning of the overall bite alignment.
As your teen’s adult smile begins to fully form — and possibly gets pushed around by developing wisdom teeth — fine-tuning their bite with braces can promote healthier teeth. There’s also a confidence boost that teens can tap into when they feel great about the way their smile looks.
Caring for Braces
Cleaning around fixed braces takes time and practice. Investing in an electric toothbrush and water flosser can be extremely beneficial. For younger children, follow up behind them to make sure they’re cleaning well around each bracket. Water flossing will clean between teeth and under wires, and is an effective alternative to traditional flossing. We might also prescribe a fluoride gel to use before bed each night.
Request an Orthodontic Consultation
Could your child benefit from orthodontic treatment? Request a consultation from our St. Charles Orthodontist today. Financing plans are available.