We usually think about the option of orthodontics when our children reach adolescence, not before. But it is actually important to consult an orthodontist in childhood, before the teeth have finished growing. In this way, it will be easier to intercept malpositions of the teeth or even the jaws without causing major problems.
Orthodontic treatment for children
At what age can orthodontics be started?
Children’s dentition follows different stages depending on their age. Children’s first teeth are called milk teeth, which are then replaced by the so-called “permanent” teeth.
Although there are variations and each person follows his or her own developmental rhythms, the first baby teeth usually appear around 6 months of age, followed by the growth of other baby teeth until the age of 2 or 3, when a total of 20 primary teeth can be counted. Then, around age 6 or 7, the baby teeth will begin to fall out and permanent teeth will replace them as they come in. By the age of 12, an adolescent will have 32 adult teeth.
As with other specialties, it is advisable to take your child to the dentist well before any abnormalities are detected, to keep track of how well everything is going. Many parents are under the mistaken impression that the orthodontist should only be consulted when the permanent teeth appear to be out of place, overlapping or too large. However, it is advisable to have a first consultation from the age of 7 or 8.
It should be noted that for children with more serious problems, such as dental malposition, orthodontic treatment can be carried out as early as 4 or 5 years of age and thus avoid the consequences of this malposition.
What types of treatment are available for children?
There are two types of treatment for children: functional orthodontic treatment and interceptive treatment. Both should be carried out as soon as possible because their effectiveness depends on the malleability of the child’s teeth and jaws. Indeed, as long as bone growth is not completed, teeth and jaws are easier to straighten.
Functional orthodontics is a therapeutic technique that uses several disciplines, such as osteopathy and speech therapy, to treat chewing, swallowing and breathing problems caused by dental or jaw misalignment or bad oral habits, such as thumb sucking or incorrect tongue position.
Interceptive orthodontics for children aims to quickly correct a dental or jaw abnormality so that it does not worsen during adolescence. Dr. Solozábal can inform you about the different techniques.
In any case, at the MiravéCo clinic, Dr. María Solozábal is our orthodontic specialist and she will advise you on the best treatment for your child, if she thinks he or she needs it, to restore a healthy and functional mouth with efficiency, maximum comfort and long-lasting results.