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Orthodontic Treatment for Children: An Overview

In many ways, one of the more traumatic experiences for children is finding out that they are going to have to see the orthodontist, that they are going to need braces. Through this article, you are provided with some basic information about orthodontic treatment for children

American Association of Orthodontists' Recommendations: Children and their Oral Health

While the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be evaluated by an orthodontist no later than age seven, treatment does not usually begin until several years later. Potential orthodontic problems in children may be detected as early as age five or six. Most orthodontists will evaluate a child who still has baby teeth, but the orthodontist can still see potential problems on the horizon. Even if the child’s teeth appear straight, an orthodontist can usually see potential problems that may form later in the child’s life. This can give a heads up to the parents. This allows the parents and orthodontist to work as a team in order to ward off more serious orthodontic problems in the future.

Common Orthodontic Problems of Children

Many orthodontic problems that children experience are genetic. Their parents may have had the same problems, thus passing them on to the child. Common orthodontic problems that children may experience are protruding teeth, dental crowding, teeth that protrude and missing or extra teeth. Sometimes they may even experience jaw growth problems. Sometimes the children are predisposed to these conditions and sometimes they acquire the condition. Thumb sucking, poor dental hygiene, mouth breathing, early or late loss of baby teeth and many other factors can contribute to creating a condition that requires orthodontic care.

Determing the Right Course of Treatment for Children

Even if an orthodontist sees a potential problem with a child, he or she will likely take a wait and see approach and begin treatment when the time is right. Different children grow and mature at different rates so the ideal time for treatment to begin varies with each child. The orthodontist will evaluate the child over time and when they feel that it is an appropriate time to begin treatment, they will do so. An orthodontist does much more than just put braces on people. They also do a lot of preventative measures of which the goal is to eliminate the need for braces or further, more aggressive orthodontic treatment.

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