Orthodontic treatment for children can be an extensive process, sometimes taking years to complete. It is important for children to have positive experiences at the orthodontist’s office in order for them to complete the necessary treatments without fear or apprehension.
We’ve laid out what a child can expect from orthodontic treatment so that you can prepare yourself and your child for what that may experience.
Why Focusing On the Little Things Matters for Orthodontic Care
Orthodontic care is an essential aspect of dental health for many people, as it is aimed at improving the alignment and position of permanent teeth, jaws, and bites. While orthodontic treatments are commonly associated with teens and even adults, it is equally important for young children.
Children have unique orthodontic needs and require specialized care and attention. Parents can play a vital role in preparing their children for their first orthodontic appointment, choosing the right type of braces, understanding the treatment plan, and ensuring proper aftercare to maintain a healthy smile and beautiful results.
Helping Your Child Adjust to Orthodontic Treatment
The first step in providing excellent orthodontic care for your child is to prepare them for their first orthodontic evaluation. The initial consultation involves a comprehensive dental exam, including x-rays, bite analysis, and a discussion of the child’s medical history and oral health concerns. Parents can help ease their child’s worries and anxieties by explaining what to expect during the appointment and answering any questions they may have.
It is also helpful to find a pediatric dentist or orthodontist who specializes in treating children. Pediatric dental specialists have additional training and experience in dealing with the unique needs and concerns of children and can provide the necessary emotional and physical support to make the child’s orthodontic experience a pleasant and positive one.
Types of Orthodontic Treatments for Children
There are several types of orthodontic treatments available for children, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types include:
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most commonly used type of braces for children with crooked teeth. They consist of metal brackets and wires that are attached to the teeth to straighten them over time. They are durable and effective but may require more frequent adjustments and can be visible when smiling.
Ceramic braces are similar to traditional metal braces but are made of clear or tooth-colored materials that blend in with the teeth. They are less noticeable than metal braces but may be more prone to staining and require more careful maintenance.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, consist of a series of removable plastic trays that are worn for a few weeks at a time and gradually shift teeth into their proper position. They are a popular option because they are discreet adn can be removed for eating and drinking, but may not be suitable for young children who are not yet responsible enough to take care of them.
Developing a Dental Care Treatment Plan for Your Child
Once you and your dentist choose the type of orthodontic treatment that is best for your child, they’ll develop a treatment plan based on your child’s individual needs and goals. Your child’s orthodontist may recommend additional appliances, such as palatal expanders, to address oral habits or jaw growth issues.
Managing Oral Habits and Jaw Growth
Some children may have oral habits, such as thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, or mouth breathing, which can affect their dental and orthodontic health. An orthodontist for children can help manage these habits and prevent them from causing further dental problems.
Jaw growth can also play a significant role in what dental treatments are suggested. Some children may have jaw discrepancies that can affect their bite and facial appearance. Orthodontists for children can use various approaches, such as functional appliances, to correct these issues and improve the child’s overall oral health.
Understanding Orthodontic Treatment Options and Plans Available
Parents must understand the various treatment options and plans available for their child’s orthodontic care. They should discuss the benefits and risks of each option with their child’s orthodontist and make an informed decision based on the child’s individual needs and goals.
Aftercare Tips to Ensure a Healthy Smile and Beautiful Results
Aftercare is an important part of the orthodontic process to ensure a healthy smile and beautiful results. Here are some tips to ensure that your child’s orthodontic treatment is successful:
- Follow the instructions given by your orthodontist regarding brushing, flossing, diet, and other care instructions. This can help prevent any problems from developing or worsening during treatment.
- Attend regular checkups and cleanings with your pediatric dentist to monitor the progress of the orthodontic treatment.
- Wear a retainer after the braces are removed to prevent teeth from moving back into their original position.
- Encourage your child to practice good oral hygiene habits at home, such as brushing and flossing regularly, to maintain a healthy smile.
- Avoid eating foods that can damage braces, like hard candy, nuts, and sticky candies such as taffy or caramels, as they can bend or break wires or brackets, impair proper alignment and cause discoloration to areas near the appliance bonding material on teeth.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Team for Your Child’s Orthodontic Treatment
Focusing on the “little things” can have a big impact on a child’s orthodontist experience. From choosing the right type of braces to understanding treatment options and plans available, parents should be informed and involved in their child’s orthodontic care journey. With proper guidance from an orthodontist, as well as regular checkups and good oral hygiene habits, your child can achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.
To learn more about what orthodontic services we offer for children, schedule a consultation with our dental team today.