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Orthodontics for young children

If your child’s teeth aren’t straight or their jaws aren’t lining up, the Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends an early examination or screening for kids between the ages of eight and 10 years. Here’s what every parent needs to know before you worry about kids braces.

Our first article in this series took an initial look at crooked teeth in kids and why this occurs.

I read that some kids are going to the orthodontist as young as seven. But if they’re not old enough for braces yet, why?

Orthodontics is all about proper assessment and about making some sort of prediction. It’s important to intervene in a timely manner, whether it’s doing something for your child’s teeth as an early intervention or leaving it for a definitive treatment (such as kids braces) at a more appropriate time. The problem is that a lot of it depends on your child’s growth and that’s something you can’t predict.

Clear kids braces are just one of the Orthodontic options available to teenageers today - aren't they lucky!

Back in the day, having braces was a bit of a ‘thing’, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. There is a greater range of treatments (such as clear aligners) and many more people have braces even as adults. Kids braces are actually very well accepted these days.

What we say to parents is that a lot of their child’s dental problems will often be overcome through growth. For example, if there are overcrowded, adult-sized teeth coming through in a little kid’s jaw, their teeth won’t change size but their jaw may grow enough to give space for them to erupt properly. Or perhaps there’s an adult tooth that’s erupting ectopically (in the wrong position) because a baby tooth is hanging around too long.

With any early intervention, we just try to be practical because there’s a big risk that kids will burn out of having dental or orthodontic treatment. If you start doing too much stuff too early, kids get sick of it and disengage. And they won’t clean their teeth!

Kids braces

So many kids now have braces, but do they really need them? Can’t they just live with crooked teeth?

Often the driving force for parents wanting their children to have their teeth straightened is cosmetic.  The reason behind having orthodontic treatment, from my side of things as a dentist, is not cosmetic at all.

If you can get your teeth to be straighter, then they’re going to function more efficiently. If your teeth are crooked, crowded or stick out, the question is: how are you going to keep them clean for the rest of your life?

Having crooked teeth can also impact the functions of speaking and eating: a child’s teeth can be so far out in their mouth that they lisp; or because of their crooked teeth, they may not be able to keep their lips closed when they eat, so food falls out of their mouth.

Having straighter teeth can be a confidence booster for kids, right?

Yes, especially when children are developing their ego. Having really crooked teeth can affect that.

Kids don’t seem to get teased so much for having braces or ‘train tracks’.

Back in our day, having braces was a bit of a ‘thing’, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Now, with clear kids braces and removable aligners like Invisalign or ClearCorrect, both of which we do here at our practice, they’re very well accepted. In fact, some children come in begging for them. It’s cool now!

To book your child’s orthodontic consultation or simply find out more about kids braces, read our Orthodontic Questions article or call our reception staff on 07 3263 2677 or book an appointment online. 

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