Children’s orthodontic problems develop from genetics, mouth injuries, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits. Some common issues we see in our young patients include crowded teeth, too much space between teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites. The good news is that we’re experts at correcting childhood orthodontic problems. Starting early gives your child the optimal outcome with the least invasive treatment possible.
After meeting your child and assessing their orthodontic health, we may recommend splitting their treatment plan into two phases. Splitting the treatment is often the most efficient and effective way to correct the problems with their teeth and bite.
Resting Period: Monitoring the Progress of your Child’s Teeth
At the end of a successful Phase One, we will have created sufficient space in your child’s mouth for all of their permanent teeth to come in without any trouble. During the resting period, we monitor how the permanent teeth erupt but essentially leave them alone to come in naturally. We may recommend a retainer for the existing permanent teeth so they stay in a good position. However, if the retainer might interfere with the eruption of other permanent teeth, we recommend going through the resting period without a retainer. The reason is that by allowing the teeth some freedom of movement, we can prevent existing teeth from becoming impacted or severely displaced.
Your child will need appointments only periodically so that Dr. Kaye and Dr. Yucha can monitor your child’s progress. If necessary, the doctors may remove select baby teeth to enhance and ease the eruption of the permanent teeth.
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight (or even older), please schedule a free initial consultation with our office. Dr. Kaye and Dr. Yucha will investigate whether early interceptive treatment makes sense for your child and whether the treatment would work best split into two phases. Together with you, we’ll plan the next best steps on your child’s path to lifelong orthodontic health.
Orthodontic care straightens teeth, but planning for straight teeth is only the tip of the iceberg when assessing a child’s orthodontic health. Early interceptive treatment addresses alignment of the jaw, facial irregularities, and breathing pathways. Having an aligned jaw with straight teeth that fit together properly makes it much easier for your child to talk and eat. Corrected teeth are much easier to keep clean and develop much less wear and tear. A beautiful smile boosts children’s confidence and increases their self-esteem.
Children’s rapid growth is the foundation of early interceptive treatment. Our doctors can take advantage of the fact that children’s jaws and teeth are already deep in the process of development: guide now rather than modify later. Orthodontic treatment is a great idea at any age, but starting care in childhood means children’s natural growth patterns support and speed up their treatment.
The precise number of appointments your child needs will depend on their custom treatment plan and the way their mouth responds to treatment. We typically schedule orthodontic appointments for children from once a month to once every three months. The number and frequency of appointments your child will need may also change throughout the treatment.
At each appointment, Dr. Kaye or Dr. Yucha will check your child’s appliances and assess their treatment progress. Your child may also get their braces cleaned, have their teeth flossed, and get replacement wires or elastics. We always leave time for you and your child to ask questions and express concerns. We want to make sure the treatment is working for your family and that you have a clear understanding of your child’s plan and progress
Without a doubt. Your child can absolutely play sports or an instrument even while they have braces. If a child plays an instrument with their mouth (like a trumpet or clarinet), they may take a few days to get used to playing while wearing their braces or Invisalign clear aligners. They’ll soon get the hang of it and won’t notice much of a difference.
We recommend children wear mouthguards when playing sports to protect their appliances and their teeth from injuries. If your child does get a mouth injury while they have braces, call our office right away. We’ll help you make sure there’s no damage that will delay your child’s treatment.
Right after your child gets braces or after routine adjustments, their mouth will feel sensitive and they’ll probably want to eat soft foods for a few days. Be a hero and throw in some soft-serve ice cream with dinner. After a short while, your child can resume eating normally with a few exceptions.
Have your child pass on popcorn and crunchy snacks like pretzels, chips, nuts, and crunchy veggies. They shouldn’t eat chewy and gummy candy, chewing gum, hard candy, or ice. These types of foods can get stuck in braces, damage the brackets or archwires, or pull a bracket off the tooth.
Food can easily get stuck in braces, so regular and thorough brushing is very important. Your child should brush their teeth at least three times a day, including before bed and after every meal.
They should also floss at least once a day to clear food particles from hard-to-reach spots where a toothbrush can’t reach, which will prevent excessive tooth decay and maintain healthy gums. Flossing, which is already tricky for kids, is even more challenging with braces, so as a parent you’ll need to spend some time with them guiding the process and making sure they can floss well. A water flosser or orthodontic flossers designed especially for use with braces can make the whole process easier.
Orthodontic appointments don’t replace routine dental cleanings. During orthodontic treatment, it’s essential you take your child to the dentist twice a year for a checkup and thorough cleaning.