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Early Orthodontics

It's never too early to keep an eye on your child's oral development and dental care. Your dentist can identify malocclusion - crowded, skew or crooked teeth, bite problems or permanent teeth coming in crooked - and intervene early to guide the teeth as they emerge in the mouth. Malocclusion is often inherited but can be caused by dental injuries, the early loss of primary teeth, or dental habits such as thumb sucking, fingernail biting, or lip biting. Early braces and orthodontic treatment for kids can prevent more extensive treatment later.

Orthodontics

There are many reasons for the mouth posture to have been altered from the ideal, and it can often happen very early on in life. Breastfeeding, diet, nutrition, allergies, tongue tie and sleep posture are all factors that can influence oral posture. dr Chodree seeks to undo the structural damage to the face that may have occurred when the posture was not correct, and then to stabilize the facial growth and tooth positions by working toward a habitually normal oral and head posture.
Typically, the upper and lower jaws will fail to grow horizontally. They drop down and back. If the lower drops more than the upper, it can look like upper front teeth "stick out." But normally, they are also too far back in the face, and need to be corrected by being brought up and out. The upper jaw also needs widening to form a palatal shape that will accomodate normal tongue posture, up against the roof of the mouth.
Then the lower jaw is encouraged to grow forward by teaching the child to hold the teeth together, lips together and the tongue to the roof of the mouth. While this is not always easy for the child, it works!

How do I know my child needs braces?

The following factors may be warning signs of malocclusions:

  • Crooked, wonky or crowded teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Teeth grinding
  • Thumb or finger sucking – this may cause the front teeth to protrude
  • Early (before four years old) loss of teeth
  • Late (after seven years old) loss of teeth

Early orthodontic braces can indeed improve your child's smile, but the benefits are more than just for appearance. Paediatric orthodontics can straighten teeth, guide erupting teeth into position, correct bite problems, and prevent the need for tooth extractions. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and less susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease & infection (such as gingivitis or periodontal disease).

How long should my child have braces?

Each child's mouth and alignment is different, so it will depend on how severe the malocclusion. It could be anything from 12 to 36 months usually.

What changes once my child gets braces?

It is essential that your child maintains proper dental and oral health during early orthodontic care. Brushing, flossing and mouth washing is essential. It is also important to look after the braces by avoiding sticky food substances like toffees, gum and taffy, as well as hard foods like ice, hard candy, peanuts, popcorn.