One of the top questions we hear at Shoreline Children’s Dentistry is: “Will my child need braces?”
Many parents remember wearing braces themselves – often not so fondly – and are concerned about their child’s comfort and whether braces and other orthodontic treatments are worth the cost.
We’d like to reassure you that orthodontic techniques have improved quite a bit in the last several years. Guilford pediatric dentist Dr. Kate Glazer has excellent working relationships with several local orthodontists, and when the time comes that braces are needed, she can refer you to one of these experts for comprehensive treatment.
In the meantime, however, there are several simple corrections and interventions that we can do here in our office to help minimize the need for orthodontics later on.
Early Evaluations Save Time and Money
One of the reasons that we encourage you to bring your child in for regular check-ups (and one of the reasons why a pediatric dentist is such a good choice) is because at each appointment, Dr. Kate will closely follow your child’s development and watch for any possible problems.
One of the “truisms” of dentistry is that typically the earlier we can catch a problem, the easier it will be to treat and the less likely it is to cause more challenging problems in the future.
Children’s teeth don’t just “become crooked” overnight. The signs of developing problems are usually there early on. These can include:
- Baby teeth that fall out too early or too late
- Permanent teeth that come in at an unusual angle
- Differences in bite development such as overbites and underbites
- Changes to the shape of the palate caused by habits such as pacifiers, extended bottle use, and thumb sucking
Early Corrections and Interventions
If a problem is identified, we have a number of interventions we can implement while your child’s mouth is still developing. These interventions can widen a narrow palate, relieve crowding so that teeth come in correctly, and increase spacing between tight teeth to prepare for orthodontics.
Dr. Kate is committed to keeping you informed about your child’s health and development and will discuss every aspect of treatment with you. She’ll provide you with a detailed explanation of our concerns, using imaging and x-rays to give you a good visual as to what is going on. She’ll also lay out your treatment options and the likely outcome of each – including the option of foregoing treatment.
Why Are Braces Important?
Parents often wonder why we bother with orthodontics at all. Plenty of people have crooked teeth or gaps between their teeth, after all, and it can be considered a unique part of that person’s appearance.
But straight teeth and an aligned bite are actually important for several reasons. Some people do feel self-conscious about a smile with crooked teeth, but aesthetics are only part of the equation.
Crooked, crowded, and twisted teeth are more difficult to clean and are therefore more prone to cavities and gum disease. When a toothbrush and dental floss can’t fit between the teeth and it’s harder for a hygienist to reach these areas, bacteria can easily grow.
A misaligned bite is problematic because it puts pressure on teeth in ways they aren’t meant to handle. In time, this can lead to problems like dental erosion, cracked or fractured teeth, and loose teeth. Problems can also occur with the jaw including chronic pain, migraine headaches, bruxism (clenching and grinding), and even temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ or TMD). We’d like to avoid all of these problems and set your child up for success.
Do You Have Questions About Orthodontics?
If you have questions about braces or concerns about your child’s oral health and development, we invite you to call our Guilford, CT pediatric dental office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kate.