For your younger children, braces may not even be on your radar. However, did you know that early orthodontic training in Broomfield can help curb issues fast, often saving you and your family thousands of dollars? When problems are combatted before they really start, it can be a more pleasant experience for a child and better for your wallet. Learn more about considerations to make for your child, when to begin seeing an orthodontist and how to help your child adjust to braces at a young age.
When to Begin Seeing and Orthodontist for Your Child
Children have 20 “baby teeth” that grow in when they are about six months old. These teeth will come into place and begin to fall out as early as six- to seven-years-old to make room for adult teeth. This phase ends when the child is around 12- to 13-years-old when all of their 28 adult teeth have grown in. Years later, between the ages of 17- and 20-years-old, a majority of people get a third set of molars—also known as “wisdom teeth.” There are four wisdom teeth total that come in. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of the population have to get their wisdom teeth extracted because there is not enough space. Others have issues with alignment, gum issues or cysts.
As you can see, a person undergoes several changes in a 10-year period, starting as young as six. It is beneficial to see an orthodontist in the early stages to monitor and assess a child’s individual situation.
What is Early Orthodontic Training?
There are two types of orthodontic treatment: Phase I and Phase II. A majority of people receive Phase II treatment, which is the installation of braces in middle or high school, once all teeth are in place. During Phase II treatment, an orthodontist will combat existing issues based on how teeth gave come in and any jaw alignment issues. Seeing an orthodontist early can save your family thousands if they determine Phase I treatment is beneficial.
In the early stages of development, an orthodontist is able to foresee any issues on jaw alignment or how teeth will grow in. Instead of taking a reactive approach, Phase I treatment is a proactive approach. An orthodontist can identify future issues and use braces and other orthodontic treatments to avoid those issues from happening. These cautionary actions can help save thousands in the long run, as well as any pain and discomfort of certain orthodontic treatments.
Benefits of Seeing and Orthodontist Early and Phase I Treatment
- Parents or guardians need to consider taking their child to an orthodontist when the child is six- or seven-years-old. By assessing a child’s development, an orthodontist is able to identify any issues that could be problematic, and Phase I treatment can be implemented. Some of the key benefits of this treatment include:
- Ability to work with a developing jaw and prevent incorrect issues from occurring
- Reduce pain and symptoms from misaligned teeth
- Correct damage from thumb sucking
- Aid with speech issues due to teeth or jaw alignment
- Prevent painful, problematic orthodontic issues
- Save thousands on dental bills by taking a shorter, proactive approach at a younger age
- Requires less time to wear braces or corrective treatment as opposed to Phase II (six to 18 months versus one to two years)
Ways to Help Your Child Adjust with Changes
Braces are a significant life change in children, but an important one. A struggle some parents and guardians see in children is difficulty with foods they are unable to eat. First, have your child speak independently with the orthodontist to help them understand why certain foods can hinder progress. Next, help them find new foods they can enjoy just as much without the worry of damaging braces. The early days of installing braces are the ideal time to teach them how to eat food with new or tightened braces
. Let them have a say in the grocery list each week and pick out foods they are comfortable eating.
When eating food, cutting large food up into pieces is helpful. For instance, biting into an apple is not a wise choice for a child with braces. However, cutting the apple up into bites can make it easy and manageable. This also helps with chicken, fish, pizza, and other foods.
For pain, talk to your orthodontist about safe medications they can take for relief. Wax or gum-numbing gel can help provide relief to irritated gums.
Working with Your Child on Routine Care
Routine dental care is important for everyone but especially important for those with braces. A great way to get started is with an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes remove food from around the brackets and work to combat plaque, gingivitis, cavities, and more. Electric toothbrushes make care easy, as the child will only need to hold the brush over each tooth for a few seconds. Most new electric toothbrushes have a timer, alerting a person when the optimal two minutes is up. Your child should brush their teeth at least three times a day to help remove debris from around the brackets.
In addition, flossing throughout the day is important, too. Purchase waxed floss as it is more compatible for those with braces. For younger children, you may have to assist them with flossing until they can catch on. Use caution when flossing around each bracket and invest in small cleaners that you can use around brackets that will not get caught. Talk to your orthodontist about the best types and where you can easily pick them up for your child. A great way to help motivate children to act on their own is through incentives. Create a good-habit chart and as they reach certain milestones, treat them to something they enjoy.
Are you ready to take the next step? Prentice Orthodontics is your local expert for early orthodontic treatment. Specializing in childcare, our team will help identify any potential problems and create a custom plan. We’ll help you understand the benefits of early orthodontic treatment
and how you and your child can have a successful experience. Contact us today at 303-468-7722 to schedule your appointment.