A Modern-Day Parent’s Guide to Orthodontics for Kids Ages 7-10

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Orthodontists estimate that 45 percent of children will need orthodontics to fix problems such as a misaligned bite. Though, 75 percent of children would see the benefits of braces to straighten teeth. Finding out if you need orthodontics for children is best done early.

Screening children ages 7 to 10 can help prevent complications with orthodontic treatment. Read on to learn more about Phase 1 orthodontics for kids. Also, why you should see an orthodontist early in childhood.

What is Orthodontics for Kids?

Orthodontic experts will work with you and your child to change the position of the teeth in your child’s mouth. They correct irregularities like overcrowded teeth and misaligned bites. Orthodontists use dental devices like braces and retainers to achieve these changes.

Orthodontists can also work with your child to correct poor oral habits. If you stop these habits early, you can prevent future oral issues. Thumb sucking can cause bite issues, but stopping  early enough can prevent them from happening.

Early orthodontics guides adult teeth into their proper positions. It also provides long-term strength in the jaw and oral cavity. It can even prevent problems from developing later in life.

Signs Your Child Needs Orthodontics

Some abnormalities in your child’s teeth or bite are obvious. If their teeth are crowded, gapped, or crooked, your child may need orthodontics. Issues with speech and breathing are also signs that your child needs orthodontic intervention.

There are some clear symptoms that your child will need to see orthodontic specialists. These are the main reasons your child will need orthodontics early on. Even if you don’t notice any of these in your child, it is best to get them screened by a professional at age 7.

Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth can lead to problems with brushing and flossing. Your child may have a hard time cleaning between their teeth. It can also lead to uneven wear and tear, affecting the surrounding gums.

Crowding or Spacing

If your child’s teeth are too close together, there may not be space for adult teeth to grow in. If a tooth falls out too early, it may lead to spacing issues. Orthodontists can tell when a child is young if these things will be a problem.

Tooth Loss and Growth

Baby teeth are the placeholders for adult teeth. If a baby tooth falls out before it should have, it can create problems. An orthodontist can create a placeholder for the lost baby tooth.

Overbite and Underbite

An overbite can create cosmetic problems. It can also cause speech issues. It is important to watch an overbite even if it cannot get fixed right away.

Underbites can be a result of problems with the teeth or jaw. This can cause damage to the front teeth.

Posterior Crossbite

A crossbite causes crowing and a shifting jaw. An orthodontist can expand the upper jaw in early childhood and ease these issues. Expansion of the jaw can also lead to improved breathing from a narrow nasal passage.

Open Bites and Deep Bites

If your child has an open bite, the bite won’t overlap enough. This is when the top and bottom teeth do not touch when biting down. Open bites are usually the result of poor oral habits like thumb sucking.

A deep bite is when the front teeth overlap the bottom teeth. It is also called an overbite or closed bite. This type of bite is the result of a shorter lower job.

Why Does My Child Need Orthodontics?

Early orthodontic intervention can help you to avoid any future orthodontic problems. If a child has already had phase 1 orthodontic treatment, they may not need complex orthodontic treatment as a teenager.

As children age, their bones harden. If you wait for orthodontic treatment, your child may need more complicated procedures. Waiting can lead to the need for oral surgery to correct the issues.

Some issues may have an earlier effect on your child’s oral health. Children who experience crowded teeth have a more difficult time flossing and brushing. This can lead to increased cavities or gum disease.

Orthodontic treatment plays a significant role in oral health.

What is Phase One Orthodontics?

Phase one orthodontics (also called interceptive treatment) is for children aged 7 to 10 years old. This type of treatment will involve things like palatal expanders to reduce crowding.

Treatment will often last 12 months and is problem-focused. The goal for phase one orthodontics is to correct one specific problem. Most children who need phase one treatment will also need phase two orthodontics.

It is important to start orthodontic treatment as early as possible. You must wait until your child has a mixture of adult and baby teeth, though. During this phase, orthodontics can help your child’s jaw grow.

After phase one treatment, there will be a break to allow for growth. Your child’s growth will be monitored through this time. Orthodontists will also keep track of tooth eruptions.

Orthodontic Treatment Cost

The average cost for total orthodontic treatment is $6,000. This price depends on the severity of the issue getting treatment and how long it will take to complete. Many dental insurance companies will cover part of orthodontic treatment for children.

If your child does not need braces in phase one treatment, this will lower the cost. For an appliance only phase one, it can cost between $400-$1200. For both braces and appliance treatment, plan to spend between $2,500 to $3,000.

The Gift of a Great Smile for Your Child

Orthodontics for kids is necessary to fix bite problems in young children. It allows for proper oral growth and development. It will prevent costly procedures in the future.

Treating children when they are young makes the process simpler and quicker. Children’s bones are not yet developed and are easier to manipulate. Catching oral problems early can stop other issues from developing.

When your child reaches age seven, bring them in for a consultation! You will be seen by the orthodontist to discuss treatment needs. We look forward to seeing you!

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