Having crooked teeth can affect more than your child’s smile. Misaligned teeth can impact your child’s oral health and self-esteem. Fortunately, alignment issues can be corrected, improving your child’s oral health, their smile, and their confidence. At Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Justin and Dr. Joni can improve your child’s smile with orthodontics.
What Is Early Orthodontics
Most people are familiar with Phase II of orthodontics. This is the treatment that takes place around the ages of 11 to 13 when many children get braces. Early orthodontic treatment takes place sooner. With early orthodontics, we can identify and treat potential orthodontic issues at an earlier age, typically around 7 or 8. This is known as Phase I. During this phase, we can help to guide the growth of the jaws, create more space to avoid overcrowding, and regulate the growth of both the upper and lower arches. By treating issues early, your child may need less orthodontic treatment later on.
Correcting Alignment Issues With Braces
Phase II is the phase most people think of when they hear the word orthodontics. This is the phase that involves correcting tooth alignment, and it generally takes place in the adolescent to early teen years. Traditional braces involve the use of metal brackets and wires that are bonded to the teeth and guide your child’s teeth into proper alignment. Other attachments, such as rubber bands or springs, may be used to help correct jaw alignment or other issues. The length of treatment depends upon the severity of the alignment issues, but can generally take anywhere from 1 to 3 years.
Types of Orthodontic Braces
Traditional metal braces are just one type of orthodontic treatment. Today, there are several different types of braces. There are clear or ceramic braces, which have clear or ceramic brackets. The wires may be metal, but they can also be made from a tooth-colored material as well. There are self-litigating braces, which adjust on their own as your teeth shift. There are lingual braces, which are bonded to the back surfaces of your teeth rather than the front. There are also clear aligners, which are a removable orthodontic treatment. Aligners are the most discreet orthodontic treatment available.
Taking good care of their braces is important for the success of your child’s orthodontic treatment. Even with good care, however, orthodontic emergencies can happen. Biting down on something could cause a bracket to come loose or a blow to the face while playing sports could break a wire. Getting treatment as soon as possible is important for ensuring that there are no delays in orthodontic treatment. If your child has an orthodontic emergency, please contact your orthodontist for their recommendations.
What Happens Once the Braces Come Off?
Getting their braces off is one of the most exciting days for a child. After their active orthodontic treatment is complete, your child will then be given a retainer. This is the retention phase of orthodontic treatment. Your child’s retainer is custom created and meant to be worn every night to help maintain the results of their treatment. This ensures that their new smile stays healthy and beautiful.
If you have any questions about orthodontic treatment for your child, call Gallatin Valley Pediatric Dentistry at 406-224-4272 today to learn more.