When Should You Consider Braces?

From the moment babies start teething, parents begin to think about their child’s dental health. When a child’s first tooth comes in, their thoughts turn to dental care, and eventual orthodontics. Of course, babies don’t need braces — they don’t even have their permanent teeth by the time they become a toddler. Children start getting permanent teeth by the time they are around 6-7 years old. Around age 7, children may begin to show signs of bite issues, making it necessary to seek evaluation from an orthodontist.This is the time to begin considering braces. Regardless of whether there are visible issues, a child should be seen for their first orthodontic evaluation by age 7.  Keep in mind that just because a child visits an orthodontist for evaluation that doesn’t mean it is time to begin treatment. The goal of the evaluation is to determine whether there are issues and to start a discussion of a potential course of treatment.

Precursors to orthodontia include maintaining good dental care for your child starting from infancy. Oral care for babies is very important, even before teeth begin to emerge. Keeping your baby’s gums clean should start from birth, for example. The necessity of practicing good oral hygiene extends into toddlerhood. At this age, children should begin using a toothbrush and a small amount of low-fluoride toothpaste to clean teeth and gums, under supervision. It is also important to be consistent with regular visits to their pediatric dentist.

Although toddlers have just gotten their teeth and are expected to lose those baby teeth in just a few short years, it is still imperative to make sure your child receives consistent oral health care and keeps regular visits to a pediatric dentist. Good overall dental care from the beginning is largely responsible for a healthy smile throughout life.

Orthodontics, or the practice of diagnosing, preventing, and correcting improperly positioned teeth and jaws, are key in the overall oral health of a child, and successful treatment can improve one’s quality of life for many years.What happens if a child does not receive recommended orthodontic treatment? Misaligned teeth and an incorrect bite can cause significant problems, such as the inability to properly chew food, tooth decay, speech problems, and self-esteem issues, to name a few.

During your child’s initial orthodontic consultation, a visual evaluation of teeth and facial structure and a discussion of a potential treatment will take place. Eventually, if the parent wants to begin treatment of their child, it will be time to take x-rays, make impressions of your child’s teeth, and take photographs of his or her face and teeth. These are all tools that will allow the orthodontist to get an in-depth look at the case and plan a course of treatment for the patient.

While we tend to think of braces as harsh metal brackets with wires that can be painful and obtrusive, technology has come a long way since many parents were treated years ago. Today’s braces options still include traditional metal brackets but there are additional choices that can make treatment much more comfortable and less obvious, such as ceramic and clear brackets. Your orthodontist will discuss all options with you and your child to determine the right one.

There are several other factors to keep in mind when considering braces. The average length of time braces are worn is 2 years, depending on the severity of a patient’s issues. Braces also require daily care and a commitment to practicing excellent oral hygiene during treatment. Your orthodontic team will guide you and your child through what daily care looks like to make sure you are both well-versed in maintaining that hygiene level in between appointments. Lastly, affordability is a key concern many parents have. Our team can talk to you about costs of treatment with or without insurance to ensure that your child receives the best treatment possible.

The advantage of dual specialties under one roof is huge. Since PVPD offers both pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, there is no need for a referral. Your child will become comfortable in one place for both pediatric dental care and orthodontic treatment. Located in Goodyear, Surprise, and Verrado, Arizona, we are open convenient hours during the week and on Saturdays. Our facilities are warm, welcoming, and happy places children love to visit.

At Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we believe early treatment can be greatly beneficial to our young patients. With a focus on primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health care for infants and children through their adolescence, including those with special health care needs, we make sure your child’s course of treatment is tailored to his or her exact case and needs and that it begins at the appropriate age.