How Orthodontic Treatment Can Benefit Your Child

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Children and teenagers can often be more easily affected by first impressions and especially conscious of their own. Having a great smile can make a lasting difference to their self-esteem, as well as their overall health. That’s why orthodontic treatment is such an important consideration for your child, so that they can feel confident and happy in their smile and the first impressions they’ll make. But at what age should you consider your child’s orthodontic treatment, what type of treatment will be best for them and what will it involve?

When to take your child to the orthodontist

There are different phases for orthodontic treatment; Phase One occurs when the child is around the age of eight or nine, known as early treatment. The second phase will take place for children from around the age of eleven, into the teenage years. Although currently, most children receive treatment when they’re around twelve years old, earlier orthodontic treatment can save a lot of time, money and inconvenience when it comes to Phase Two.

In fact, health bodies such as The American Association of Orthodontists, advise that children go for an orthodontic screening as early as seven years old. This way, an orthodontist can look for potential problems with jaw alignment and bite as they grow. An early examination can also help find extrusions which are likely to create spacing problems, if all the adult teeth haven’t come through. You’ll then be advised on the best solution for your child, or whether they’ll need future treatment at all.

Why your child might need orthodontic treatment

Overcrowded, crooked teeth, or a misaligned bite, though common in children and teenagers, can not only lead to poor oral health and wear or damage the teeth, they can also place pressure on the jaw and cause irregular growth – changing the facial structure. One of the factors that can contribute to orthodontic problems in children is thumb sucking, as it can cause the lower teeth to become set back or the upper teeth to protrude forward. Early intervention, therefore, is sometimes necessary to prevent enduring tooth and jaw problems. Orthodontics is most effective at an earlier age, before a child’s jaw stops developing, which is usually towards their adult years. Signs that your child may need orthodontic treatment include:

  • If your child continues thumb sucking after 5 years of age
  • Lisps or speech impediments
  • Teeth are protruding, or don’t come together normally
  • Crowding of the front teeth begins at around the age of seven or eight
  • Your child has difficulty chewing or biting
  • A shift in the jaw when they open or close their mouth
  • They are breathing through their mouth

Phase One treatments in most cases begin once all of the adult teeth have started to come through and use methods and appliances to correct the position of the jaw and dental arches. If your child’s orthodontist sees that teeth coming through will likely cause crowding or other issues, they can use interceptive orthodontics to shift the size of the dental arch for better teeth positioning. This will decrease the likelihood of teeth having to be removed or additional orthodontic treatment as your child reaches teenage years, however Phase Two treatment is usually still needed. The future treatment will mostly be a lot shorter and less expensive though.

How an orthodontist can help improve your child’s teeth

Investing in orthodontic treatment for your child at an earlier stage, can prevent them needing it when they’re an adult, where it often takes longer and surgery may have to be involved. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment for your child, here are the problems it can help to correct:

  • Orthodontics for your child can help to correct protruding upper front teeth, improving oral health, the appearance of the teeth, as well as reducing the risk of traumatic injury to the upper teeth.
  • Crowded or asymmetrical teeth can be straightened and guided into a healthier position by creating space for teeth to grow. This will also help to correct damage to the teeth and shifting of the jaw over time.
  • Incorrect bites can be corrected as orthodontics will guide the growth of the jaws, reducing the chances of abnormalities.

Most treatment will involve the use of braces, which are extremely effective and are much more comfortable and smaller than previously. You can check whether your child is permissible for free NHS orthodontic treatment, if they’re under the age of 18. At Northenden House Orthodontics we offer a wide choice of treatment options for children and can carry out treatment from NHS referrals. If you’d like to speak to us regarding treatment for your child, or to book your consultation, please contact the practice on 0161 998 2622 or email info@manchesterorthodontics.co.uk.

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