So… it’s that time already. Your baby is growing up, and her teeth are, too. But is she really ready for braces?
If your dentist took note of crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth in your child’s mouth and suggested a visit to the orthodontist, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time for braces. It just means that your dentist is paying attention and wants an orthodontist to stay in the loop, too. Orthodontists specialize in fixing improper bites and crooked teeth, and they can provide insight on your child’s growth patterns and how they may affect his or her teeth down the road.
Typically, children who need braces receive them when:
They have lost all of their primary teeth
Their 12-year molars have at least partially erupted
Some exceptions that could lead an orthodontist to suggest an early start include: an excessive overbite (upper jaw is larger than the lower jaw), severe crowding, or impacted canine teeth. Similarly, if your child is experiencing social difficulties because of her teeth, or if the orthodontist sees problems that could prevent normal development (such as a crossbite with a shift or overcrowding due to arch constriction), he may want to begin the correction process before your child has lost all her baby teeth or before her 12-year molars have erupted.
On the other hand, there are also occasions when the orthodontist may suggest a later start. Children with underbites (wherein the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw), for example, tend to continue growing beyond the point at which children with normal bites and overbites stop growing. If your child has an underbite or another similar growth pattern, the orthodontist may want wait to begin treatment until the growth has slowed down. Otherwise, your child may run the risk of outgrowing her correction.
No need to worry
If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth, talk to your dentist. If you’ve been visiting regularly, your dentist should be able to talk to you about your child’s growth and whether your concerns are warranted. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your dentist, you may want to consider finding a new dentist that you are more comfortable with.
At Town Center Dentistry, we understand the worries that come along with having children, and we know how important it is to have dentists and doctors that keep you informed. We invite and encourage questions from our patients – and the parents of our patients.
Another great thing about Town Center Dentistry is that we also have orthodontists on site in our Rancho Bernardo office. This means you don’t have to go to two different locations to see the dentist and the orthodontist. And even better, you can rest assured that we’re all working together toward your child’s brightest smile.
They are your baby. We get it. And we promise to take good care of them.