What Age Should My Child Have Orthodontic Braces?
Braces are probably one of the most dreaded words for a parent to hear when taking their child for a dental check-up. Orthodontics relate to many issues for young developing children including their self-image. For a parent, the concern for their child to develop a healthy smile is also confounded by the sometimes prohibitive cost of braces. However crooked teeth can indicate developmental problems for a child that influence their breathing, posture and sleep habits.
When should my child get an orthodontic checkup?
If you think your child has crooked teeth, when should you plan for orthodontic treatment? There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about when a child should commence orthodontic work. The American Academy Of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that most children should have an orthodontic assessment by age 7.
With studies have shown that braces are more frequently applied to children at a later date (11-13) than the younger prepubescent (8-10) bracket. Which is correct for your child?
Traditional approaches to orthodontics
Up until recent times, there has been a general consensus that a child with dental arch problems should wait until around the age of 12 when all of their baby teeth have fallen out before having orthodontic braces.
Signs your child needs braces
Until age 10, your child will go through crucial growth phases that shape many of the important structures of their face and head. At birth, the skull is made up of softer material that makes up cartilage in our joints. As the child grows, cartilage is converted to the bone that will form the adult skull.
Upper teeth are related to the development of the upper jawbone or maxilla. When the upper dental arch is crooked, it may indicate that the upper airways or sinuses are cramped which can cause a child to breathe through their mouth. Mouth breathing, along with other signs that child needs braces include, snoring at night, slumped posture, poor sleep and dark circles or venous pooling under the eyes. All of these observations in a child may indicate that a child is at risk of future sleep-disorders and potential ill-health.
Myofunctional and prepubescent orthodontic treatment
With crooked teeth being related to the airway, breathing, and facial development, orthodontists are now taking all of these factors into consideration when assessing a child’s dental development. Earlier dental diagnosis and treatment of airway dysfunction and facial growth now gives a much broader scope of childhood dental assessment.
Early intervention orthodontics includes using functional appliances that assist the child’s jawbones to develop properly. For example, palatal expanders can be employed to encourage nasal airway formation alongside functional breathing and swallowing. When the habits of the child are corrected, the bones and teeth are allowed to grow as they are meant to it may avoid the need for orthodontic braces altogether.
Prepare your child for early assessment
There are many factors that influence your child’s smile growing healthy and straight. However the health factors surrounding breathing and sleep that can accompany crooked teeth mean that parents should always take their child for early dental checkups to see if early intervention orthodontics is suitable for them.
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