If you’re wondering when your child should first see an orthodontist, the answer may depend on a number of factors. While orthodontics are often thought of as being primarily used to correct the alignment of teeth once all of a child’s adult teeth come in, it may be helpful to begin orthodontic treatment sooner. One of the purposes of Interceptive Orthodontics for your child is to intervene early to prevent problems from developing.
What Interceptive Orthodontics Do
Interceptive orthodontics or early orthodontic treatment can help with guiding the eruption of adult teeth and correcting an abnormal bite. This can help to both improve the results of future orthodontic treatments as well as to prevent the need for some orthodontic treatments when a child is older.
Types of interceptive orthodontics include both fixed and removable appliances. Space maintainers are one of the most common types of interceptive orthodontics. They are used to hold space after a baby tooth is lost to prevent the surrounding teeth from becoming crooked or crowded in the resulting empty space so that the permanent tooth can come in properly and in correct alignment.
Caring for Interceptive Orthodontics
It’s important to take proper care of dental or orthodontic appliances to ensure that they do their job. The purpose of interceptive orthodontics for your child is to improve future outcomes.
Make sure that your child brushes their orthodontic appliance after each meal, the same as their teeth. Their orthodontist will likely tell you if they should floss or not around the appliance because with some appliances that is important while others may become dislodged. Be careful to follow their advice and stay consistent so that there isn’t a chance for plaque or bacteria to gather around your child’s orthodontic appliance and cause cavities. It’s also a good idea to remind your child not to push on or play with the appliance with their tongue as that may dislodge it as well.
Your child’s orthodontist will probably give you both a list of things to be careful that your child doesn’t eat, as well, while their appliance is in place. This may include sticky, crunchy or chewy foods that can be prone to damage orthodontic appliances. Your child should be able to do most activities and sports normally, but it’s always a good idea to check with their orthodontist to find out if protection like a mouth guard may be recommended if their activity puts them at risk of impact to the mouth, such as a contact sport.
Knowing When Your Child Needs Orthodontics
So how do you know if you need interceptive orthodontics for your child? The purpose of interceptive orthodontics is to intervene early so it’s a good idea to take your child to an orthodontist as early as possible if you have any concerns or questions.
If your child has begun to lose their baby teeth naturally, or experiences the loss of a tooth due to trauma, that is a good time to talk to a pediatric orthodontist to find out if the loss is earlier than it should be. Losing a baby tooth early before the adult tooth is ready to erupt can lead to many problems. Interceptive orthodontics for your child can prevent them and protect your child’s smile. The prevention and protection provided by interceptive orthodontics can go a long way towards saving on potential problems, discomfort, and cost in your child’s future.
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