San Leandro Orthodontist

Early Orthodontic TreatmentSan Leandro, CA

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While braces are a common milestone for most children and teens, there are other early orthodontic treatments available to help prepare a child’s teeth and jaw. Most adults remember wearing braces at least once, if not twice in their lives. However, the earlier a patient seeks orthodontic treatment, the better chance they have of not needing more complex orthodontic treatment in the future.

The longer a child waits to get braces or any other type of orthodontic treatment, the greater chance the child has of developing a bad bite. This can cause multiple health issues and eventually lead to dental pain. We have the tools, skills and knowledge to help ensure a child grows up with healthy teeth.

Start treatment early

When it comes to braces for kids, there are multiple factors to consider. While the child may not be as happy about wearing the braces, braces can treat more than slightly crooked teeth. A few reasons that a child may need braces include:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Malocclusion

In most cases, we will have a child wear braces around the age of 10. Part of the reason for this is that we need to wait for the child’s baby teeth to fall out and the permanent teeth to grow in. However, the child can make their first orthodontic visit at the age of 6. During this visit, we can determine the state of the child’s teeth and where the teeth may begin to grow in.

If we determine the child needs to begin braces or another form of orthodontic treatment, then we will recommend a specific treatment for the patient. In some cases, a child may lose baby teeth early on and risk new teeth emerging improperly. Fortunately, space maintainers are a potential treatment.

Space Maintainers

Accidents happen all the time. Children are playing, get careless, trip and knock out a tooth. Other times, a tooth is loose and falls out prematurely. It is also possible for baby teeth to fall out prematurely due to baby bottle rot. While the child may not be in much pain after a premature tooth, the child may not realize there are other oral health problems that can follow.

After losing the tooth prematurely, the surrounding teeth will move to fill in the gap. This will cause the new teeth to emerge from the gums crooked and cause other problems. With space maintainers, we can help to keep the teeth in the proper position until the adult teeth grow in. We can use fixed space maintainers to help children grow up with straight teeth.

Since a child can lose a tooth from the upper or lower jaw, we will attach the space maintainer to the specific area of the mouth. We will customize the device to fit the patient’s mouth. Most forms of space maintainers remain in the mouth with thin metal wires. In some cases, older children may be able to use removable space maintainers. However, removable products require more responsibility that younger children are not always capable of.

Proper Care for Space Maintainers

Since it will take several days or weeks for the child to adapt to the space maintainer device, we will continue to keep an eye on the state of the child’s teeth. Parents will have to help the child maintain proper oral hygiene and be careful to follow any eating limitations we require to keep the device in proper shape. We will also provide adjustments to the device throughout the process.

In some cases, we may use an expander to prepare the mouth for the other teeth before attaching braces. Since each patient is unique, we will recommend different types of treatment for each patient depending on their needs. Out of all early orthodontic treatment options, traditional metal braces are a regular recommendation for children who need straight teeth.

Braces for Kids

While children may not like traditional metal braces, these braces can drastically improve a child’s teeth. It is preferable for children to wear metal braces since aligners require more responsibility. Even though metal braces are not removable, they are just as effective as aligners. In fact, if there are rubber bands on the brackets, the child can select a color for the rubber bands. This means getting to wear holiday-themed bands for certain months.

With the technological advancements in braces, the time frame for wearing braces is shorter than before so long as the child takes proper care of them. This means following specific dietary plans and the parents helping the child avoid certain types of food. We can provide a full guide of which foods to avoid while wearing braces during an appointment. If you believe your child may need braces or early orthodontic treatment, give us a call and schedule an appointment.