Although some orthodontic problems such as crowded or crooked teeth are genetic, they also develop as a result of an accident, thumb-sucking or teeth loss. Orthodontics is a common and effective dental procedure that most orthodontists use to correct various problems in children's teeth. So how do you know if your child is a good candidate for orthodontics?
An improper fit of the lower and upper teeth is created when the jaw deviates to the side; this is how a crossbite occurs. Crossbites can cause asymmetric jaw growth, jaw pain, chipped teeth and worn teeth in children. If the front teeth of your child fall behind the lower front teeth, this is a sign that a crossbite has developed. Crossbites can cause irreversible problems if a dentist doesn't correct them in good time. Root canals, crowns and fillings are some of the orthodontic treatments dentists use to treat a crossbite that damages or chips the teeth. Using an expander for about 4-6 months will also fix the problem effectively.
Pacifier use and thumb-sucking are normal behaviours in toddlers and babies. However, they can cause some serious orthodontic problems later in life if the child doesn't drop the vice. If your child still struggles with the thumb-sucking habit when they are above the age of five, you should visit an orthodontist to fix the habit. Protruded front teeth, an 'open bite' and narrow upper jaw are signs that your child still sucks their thumb. Such a child requires an orthodontic appliance from a dentist to ensure the thumb doesn't touch the mouth roof.
Your child requires an orthodontic treatment if their mouth doesn't have enough room for teeth to pop up or grow in. You should be worried if the mouth of your child is too small to fit all the teeth. Children develop 'tooth impaction' when teeth crowding becomes severe, which is where the permanent teeth get stuck. The last tooth growing in will get stuck in the lower jaw or the mouth roof. An orthodontist will use surgical uncovering or an extended orthodontic treatment to correct the problem. They also use non-invasive treatments to position the child's teeth properly if the problem is identified early.
A dentist will recommend Invisalign, clear tooth aligners or braces that suit your child based on the severity of the orthodontic problem. Most dentists use space maintainers to help the permanent teeth of your child grow into alignment. The dentists also prevent crowding using retainers and use habit appliances to prevent teeth grinding at night or thumb-sucking. Regular dental visits help an orthodontist to know the best corrective measures for the orthodontic problem your child has developed.