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Does My Child Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Posted on December 13th, 2023

Des Moines dentist, Dr. Chad Johnson at Veranda Dentistry, discusses whether early orthodontic treatments are necessary and beneficial for your child’s oral health.One of the wonderful things about orthodontic treatment is that it can improve both your oral health and smile confidence at just about any age! This might lead you to believe there’s no need for children or adolescents to have to go through what might seem like a complicated intervention, but there are reasons you may see orthodontic treatment taking place sooner rather than later. 

Dr. Chad Johnson of Veranda Dentistry would like to let Des Moines friends and neighbors know if the reasons are valid, so buckle your brackets and join us for this cruise through early orthodontic treatment!

Brace for Impact!

If your child visits the orthodontist at the age of 7 as recommended by The American Association of Orthodontists, you’ll be told whether or not orthodontia is forecasted in their future. We know they’re still growing, but 7 years old is the typical age for their upper permanent teeth to have erupted, which is helpful for the establishment of their bite. Your child’s orthodontist will evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships; we want the bond to be strong, but not too strong—teeth need just the right amount of space from each other for a healthy bite.

Crossbite, Right Ahead!

Forgive our silly Titanic reference with the swap of iceberg for crossbite, but this is one occlusion (the technical dental term used to describe the contact between your upper and lower teeth) you’ll want to steer toward a healthier course. If one or more of your child’s upper front teeth close inside their lower teeth, they may have this condition. Unfortunately, it can really sink your child’s oral health by causing their jaw to grow unevenly. Crossbites are known to cause wear of the teeth, gum disease, and bone loss—which may require corrective oral surgery later in life. 

Crossbite, along with protrusion (also known as overjet—you’ll notice that in the dental world, there may be several terms used to diagnose one thing, e.g., cavity, tooth decay, and caries) are two malocclusions that dentists and orthodontists will strongly suggest treating. Protrusion can be caused by habits like thumb-sucking and excessive pacifier usage. Front teeth that are misaligned in an overjet are more prone to injury and can cause TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain and dysfunction.

Other Signs of Distress

You may want to send out the SOS call to Veranda Dentistry if your child experiences any of the following:

  • Early loss of baby teeth (before they turn 5)
  • Permanent teeth aren’t emerging
  • Upper and lower teeth aren’t meeting
  • Mouth breathing and/or snoring (this could indicate an airway problem, thumb-sucking habit, or tongue-tie)
  • Crowding of erupting permanent teeth
  • Difficulty biting, chewing or speaking
  • Jaw clenching

These symptoms may indicate one or more conditions that would benefit from early orthodontic treatment, and now Veranda Dentistry will explain how early intervention can make a big difference in your child’s smile and overall quality of life.

The Big Reveal

We kind of built the suspense, didn’t we? The actual reasons may sound basic, but the results are anything but! Early intervention for your child’s bite can often help them avoid the need for more lengthy and costly procedures, such as extraction and surgery, later in their life. The takeaway is this: when their bones are still soft and forming, corrective procedures can take less time and allow them to smile confidently throughout their teenage years.

Delaying Treatment

If there are barriers to treatment and you’re worried Veranda Dentistry will be intervening too late, we’d like to put your mind at ease. With advanced technology and continued education, the fields of dentistry and orthodontia have been able to bring smiles back (or for the first time) to conditions that will radiate health and confidence in your child’s life.

At Veranda Dentistry, we build relationships and customized treatment plans for each unique smile in our dental family. We’re happy to help Des Moines residents along their smile journeys at any age and stage, so don’t hesitate to contact Veranda Dentistry if you have any questions or are looking to begin a smile odyssey of your own! 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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