In children, to make the orthodontics treatment as short and effective as possible, it is important to act at exactly the right time, neither too early nor too late.
Orthodontics treatment in children
In children, orthodontics treatment can be given from the moment their first permanent molar appears at 6 or 7 years of age and, sometimes, even when they still only have their milk teeth.
Usually maxillofacial problems (when the upper or lower jawbone is too short or too long, too wide or too narrow) are detected around the age of 6-8 years.
Whatever the case, it is important to keep a close watch over development of the four incisors (front teeth) at the top and bottom.
Treatments in adolescents
Most orthodontic treatment is given at adolescent age.
While we can work on jaw growth during childhood, before puberty, after this time we can only change the position of the teeth.
To change the position of the teeth, we normally use brackets.
Psychological characteristics of the adolescent patient
Here we refer toHere we refer to patients from 12 to 18 years of age whose teeth may still be growing, but who are starting to think like adults.
They are not as willing as children to follow the advice or indications of their parents. Some are highly motivated, particularly if they have very crowded teeth, or if they feel that their teeth make them look less attractive. Others are not quite as convinced of the need for orthodontics, perhaps because they are bored or can’t be bothered.
Orthodontic treatment worries them, and their parents or the dentist must resolve certain issues:
- They are concerned about their physical experience: they ask for aesthetic, white brackets rather than metal ones, above all in those older than 14.
- They like to know what the treatment will consist of, if they’re going to have elastic bands, if they’re going to suffer when they’re being fitted or removed, if a lot of food will stick in the brackets… They are quite well informed, given that they can ask their friends and classmates, although sometimes the information they receive is wrong.
- They are used to seeing their friends with brackets, but some adolescents may be afraid of losing friends, of criticism, of not being attractive. They have to understand that today, in adolescence, and above all in the early years, orthodontics are strongly accepted at social level.
- They are interested in how long the treatment is going to last, because they want it to be as short as possible.
It is very important to talk to your dentist about all of this.
Signs of requiring orthodontics
- A large gap between the upper and lower teeth.
- A milk tooth which doesn’t fall out
- Prominent top teeth (buck teeth), or teeth facing inwards.
- A small mouth or narrow jawbone.
- A highly pronounced chin.
- Separated or crowded teeth.
- Breathing through the mouth.
- Snoring at night.
- Problems with pronunciation.
- Lack of space between milk teeth.
Having sucked their thumb until older than six years.
General ideas of when to start
If it is too early to start treatment, we will suggest a series of check-ups to monitor the situation.
Orthodontic treatment is more frequent in adolescence.
In the patient is an adult, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can propose different treatments which may or may not include orthodontics.
Sometimes porcelain veneers or crowns can solve the problem of crowded or separated teeth. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent longer, more complicated treatment at an adolescent age. If you suspect that your child is specifically at risk, don’t hesitate to call our clinic for advice.