Orthodontic Treatment for Children
Starting Treatment Early Promotes a Healthy Smile for Life
Healthy smiles are important at every age, especially during childhood when the baby teeth start to fall out and permanent teeth develop. As we begin treatment, we can manage present orthodontic conditions while preventing future issues to benefit a child’s long-term oral health.
Dr. Astuto is a board-certified orthodontist who offers many treatment options for younger patients. If it’s time for your child to have an orthodontic evaluation, please contact Full Smile Orthodontics to set up an appointment. We understand the special care that is required to care for children of all ages, and our team will provide you and your child with a comfortable, friendly, and fun orthodontic experience. We have offices in Amarillo, Childress, Dalhart, and Hereford, TX, and look forward to caring for your family.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early treatment, also known as interceptive treatment or Phase 1 treatment, refers to orthodontic care that begins when there are still some baby teeth present. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child’s first visit to an orthodontist happens around the age of 7. By this time, the child will have enough permanent teeth for orthodontists to evaluate the teeth and jaws. Starting orthodontic treatment early during childhood allows us to guide a child’s developing jaws into proper alignment and create enough space for incoming permanent teeth.
Orthodontic problems in children may be a result of genetics, dental disease, or injury to the face. Regardless of the cause, dental problems are easier to correct when treated early and will contribute to your child’s overall oral health throughout development. Waiting until all of the permanent teeth develop can make treatment more complicated, and by this time, other conditions may have formed that could have been prevented with early treatment.
Does My Child Need Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is especially beneficial for a child who has a dental condition that could become more serious if left untreated. We recommend treatment when a child with some baby teeth has any of the following conditions:
- Crowded teeth
- Teeth with large spaces between them
- Extra or missing teeth
- Losing baby teeth too early or too late
- The teeth don’t come together properly or at all
- Excessive sucking on a thumb or pacifier that is interfering with growth
Keep an eye on your child’s mouth as baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth come in. If you suspect that your child may have a misaligned bite or are concerned with the timing of their dental development, seeing an orthodontist will ensure your child receives the necessary care and is on track to a healthy smile.
Types of Orthodontic Treatment for Children
Dr. Astuto offers a variety of orthodontic solutions for patients of all ages. During the consultation visit, we will evaluate your child’s teeth, identify issues that need to be addressed, and discuss your treatment options. We may also take 3D scans to view digital images of your child’s mouth.
In some cases, the right treatment for a child may be no treatment at all. We may recommend waiting to see how a child’s teeth continue to develop before starting treatment. The right type of treatment will depend on the complexity of the issue, and we will walk you through every step of your child’s care to keep you informed.
Braces straighten teeth and correct misaligned bites by applying pressure to the teeth to move them. Braces can be made of stainless steel or ceramic and bonded to the front or back of the teeth. They are a popular treatment for children because the brackets are glued to the teeth, so a child cannot lose or displace them. However, the child must take extra care to clean around the brackets and wires. It’s important to teach your child good oral hygiene habits early and monitor their brushing with braces to prevent plaque buildup and decalcification, or permanent stains.
Many patients wear rubber bands with braces, which are attached to specific brackets on the upper and lower teeth to guide the bite. Braces are used for bite correction, to correct rotated, crooked, or gap teeth, to guide the eruption of impacted teeth, and to improve the overall alignment and appearance of a child’s smile.
If a child’s upper jaw is too narrow, we can use a palatal expander to widen the jaw and create enough space for permanent teeth. This device is attached to the upper back molars and sits against the roof of the child’s mouth. There is a screw that connects the two halves of the expander, which you will be instructed to tighten with a key at home. These adjustments will progressively widen the device, which applies pressure on the upper teeth to widen the palate.
Children who need to wear a palatal expander will begin treatment around age 7 or 8. They will wear the device for about 2–3 months, until the desired jaw size is achieved, and then the expander is left in for 4–6 additional months while the jaw and teeth adjust to their new position.
Invisalign aligners are clear plastic trays that fit over the upper and lower arches of teeth. They are completely removable and virtually invisible, which is why many teens and adults prefer them over traditional braces. Invisalign is also appropriate for some children who require bite correction or who need to address misaligned teeth. Because the aligners are removable, children may find them more comfortable to wear and can take them out to eat and brush without having to work around brackets or wires. However, you should monitor your child to make sure they wear the aligners at all other times of the day and night, because children may forget to wear them or misplace them.
Invisalign for children can be used for bite correction, to correct crooked or gap teeth, and to improve the alignment and appearance of a child’s smile. Invisalign is not recommended for children who require treatment for impacted teeth, large gaps between teeth, or require tooth rotation beyond 20 degrees.
Orthodontic Treatment for Children in Amarillo, Childress, Dalhart, and Hereford, TX
Early orthodontic treatment sets your child up for a beautiful, healthy smile that they can enjoy for life. Contact Full Smile Orthodontics to schedule your child’s appointment with our board-certified orthodontist, Dr. Astuto. We have offices in Amarillo, Childress, Dalhart, and Hereford, TX, and proudly serve patients of all ages in the Texas Panhandle.
Creating Beautiful Smiles Is Our Passion
We look forward to helping you and your family achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. To begin your orthodontic journey, contact Full Smile Orthodontics today for a consultation.