Types of Appliances Used in Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment is immensely important. Timing is crucial even when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. Parents are always encouraged to take their children for the first checkup when an orthodontic issue is recognized, but no later than age 7. By this age, your child has enough permanent teeth for an oral health care provider to evaluate not only the developing teeth but also the jaws. This can, in turn, provide a wealth of information.

Benefits of early orthodontic treatment

Orthodontists and dentists are trained to spot subtle problems even in children. Early intervention takes advantage of the fact that the jaw of the child is still growing and the teeth are developing. This means that particular conditions like crowding may be easier to resolve. Early treatment can also be beneficial when the dental arches and jaws are not in the right position. Functional appliances can help to improve or fix these problems. More treatment may be necessary later on, however, it is often shorter and less involved.

Types of appliances

Even though treatment plans are customized for every patient, most children wear braces for one to three years. But this usually depends on the oral care issues that need fixing. This is often then followed by a period of wearing a retainer. A retainer helps to hold the teeth in their new positions. It is not uncommon for patients to experience a little discomfort during the treatment but today’s braces are more comfortable.

A palatal expander may help to expand the child’s upper dental arch to allow for more room for the teeth to grow in. This can reduce crowding in the mouth. The procedure entails the installation of the appliance. It comprises of an expansion screw and two pieces of plastic that are attached to both sides of the upper molars. When the expansion screw is turned, the two sides are pushed away from each other by the device, which gradually widens the jaw. This makes room for the child’s adult teeth. Once the arch is the right size, there is a higher chance that the adult teeth will come in a better position.

Space maintainers are also an early intervention technique. When a child loses a tooth prematurely due to injury or decay, the neighboring teeth can end up shifting to fill the vacant space. In order to prevent this, an orthodontist can place a space maintainer that will hold the space until the permanent tooth comes in. Space maintainers can be a temporary crown or a band that is attached to the vacant space. The space maintainer will be removed when the permanent tooth starts to emerge. This procedure can eliminate the need for any further or more intensive treatments in the future.

Bottom line

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