Helping children smile brighter and more confidently.
According to psychologists, the act of smiling itself can make us feel happier. That’s another excellent reason to start the day with a smile.
We can promote the benefits of smiling in children by helping them have optimal oral health. We can teach them how to make teeth brushing enjoyable and an activity that they can look forward to.
Parents can also look into the oral and overall health benefits of kids’ orthodontics. These are treatments that allow for a healthier, more functional bite. A proper bite not only helps your children smile more, but do so with stronger, healthier teeth.
Today, we’ll share with you some of the key facts about kids’ orthodontics and how teeth straighteners benefit kids in the long run.
Are braces strictly cosmetic?
Many of us may think that the main goal of orthodontic treatment is to create attractive smiles, and teeth-straightening appliances, such as braces, do provide this benefit. However, it’s more of a lovely side effect, as these treatments bring more than charming smiles.
What then is the main purpose of kids’ orthodontics?
The purpose of orthodontic dentistry for children is to create a functional “bite.” A proper bite involves the correct alignment of the teeth and the optimal positioning of the jaw.
When both the teeth and the jaws line up correctly, they function as nature intended. This, in turn, encourages both optimal oral health and general overall health. Straight teeth are also easier to clean, and therefore, less prone to decay. Since a proper bite makes it easier to chew and bite, it also helps reduce force placed on the gums. As such, the correct alignment of the teeth also helps keep the gums healthy.
Moreover, teeth that line up properly are at a lower risk of trauma and injury. In this way, braces can help lower your little one’s risks of dental emergencies. This can be especially helpful if your child plays a lot of sports and physical activities.
As a bonus, teeth that look nice can have fantastic emotional benefits. Many studies have shown that orthodontics causes a significant improvement in self-esteem.
Specific problems that kids’ orthodontics can correct.
Children’s orthodontics correct problems with the bite, known as “malocclusions.” These are the conditions more commonly referred to as misaligned teeth or bites. They’re also among the most common dental health problems in children.
Orthodontic treatments can fix many of these malocclusions. Let’s take a look at some of these teeth or bite alignment problems that braces can correct.
Overcrowding, also called “crowded teeth,” is when the mouth runs out of “real estate.” This lack of space can then prevent the permanent teeth from growing in straight. As a result, it causes the teeth to become crooked and result in teeth that overlap.
Aside from overcrowding, overlaps can also occur due to extra or missing teeth. In some cases, it can result from behaviors like thumb-sucking or the use of pacifiers; in many others, genes have to do with the growth of the teeth.
Do your little one’s upper teeth overlap the lower teeth? In this case, your child may have an overbite. It’s a type of “bad bite” that makes the upper teeth jut forward and cover the lower teeth as your kid bites down.
An underbite is when the lower jaw protrudes forward and overlaps the upper jaw. As a result, the lower teeth may extend over or overlap the upper teeth. Underbites are less common than minor overlaps and overbites.
Diastemas are gaps wider than 0.5 mm between the teeth, often affecting the front teeth. They are common in younger children, usually closing on their own by the age of eight or nine.
In many cases, though, these gaps don’t go away even after the permanent teeth have come through. If your child’s adult front teeth have erupted and the gap stays, it’s a good time to ask your dentist about braces.
An open bite is when the upper and lower teeth slant outward. As such, even with the mouth closed, the teeth don’t touch each other. It’s an open bite because there’s a hole or space even with the teeth biting down.
A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth fall inside of the lower teeth with the mouth closed. It can affect only one tooth, but in many cases, it’s present in several groups of teeth.
This type of malocclusion occurs in two main forms: posterior and anterior crossbites. A posterior crossbite often affects the back teeth, and as a result, the upper teeth can fall inside of the lower teeth. An anterior crossbite can cause one or more of the upper teeth to sit behind the lower teeth.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It’s the joint that connects our mandible, or the lower jaw, to our skull. We can find this joint on both sides of the head, just in front of the ears.
The TMJ allows us to open and close our jaw with ease, as well as bite, chew, swallow, and speak.
An estimated 10 million Americans, however, experience TMJ disorders. These are problems that affect the jaw, causing pain, swelling, or tenderness at the joint. In some people, the condition can also make it difficult to move the joint.
Orthodontic Treatments Options for Your Little One
Traditional braces use metal brackets and wires. Many refer to them as “permanent” braces, since the dentist needs to glue the brackets onto the teeth. They are useful in correcting teeth and bite issues of varying severity.
The Invisalign system also offers an excellent orthodontic treatment option. They are removable trays made of clear plastic that look very inconspicuous. They can also fix many misalignment issues, although your child needs to wear them for at least 22 hours a day.
A pediatric dentist can help you choose the most appropriate option for your child.
Give your little one more reason to smile.
It’s advisable for parents to have their child go for an orthodontist visit by or before the age of seven. Rest assured that a pediatric dentist will always stay on top of your little one’s teeth and jaw, though, which is another excellent reason to have your child regularly visit the dentist.
If your little one shows signs of malocclusion, it may be time to consider kids’ orthodontics. Our team here at We Make Kids Smile can help. Please feel free to get in touch with us soon so we can help you give your child that A+ smile.