There are plenty of questions that come along when raising kids. From school to health care, there’s no end to the decisions parents and caregivers must make! One question we often hear is how to tell if a child will need orthodontic treatment. Many parents we meet here at Seabreeze Orthodontics come to us for this very reason. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer! There are quite a few factors that must be considered, including the child’s age, how their teeth and jaws are aligned and developing and the desired results. The good news is that recognizing and treating your child’s orthodontic issues is what our team is here to do!
The best way to address all of these areas is an early orthodontic evaluation. The American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Juan recommend that every child see an orthodontist around seven years old. By this age, most children will have enough dental landmarks in place that their teeth, jaw, and bite can be assessed for orthodontic treatment.
There are several common issues that Dr. Juan will be looking for during this initial evaluation, regardless of the age of the child. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common things we see in our Myrtle Beach patients!
Healthy teeth and gums are an essential part of your child’s oral health, but crowded teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss effectively. This increases the chance of tooth decay and cavities. If your child has crowded teeth, Dr. Juan can move them into a better position in small increments over time. This will result in a smile that’s easier to clean. Treatment can even relieve chewing and speech difficulties!
A deep overbite is when the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth too much. This can be detrimental to the teeth and potentially the health of the jaw joints. The lower front teeth can be significantly and prematurely worn down from this positioning. It can also have an impact on face shape and appearance by aging the face with collapsed lips which can make the chin and nose more prominent. Correcting a deep bite misalignment like this will greatly improve the functionality of your child’s teeth and dramatically improve the appearance of their smile!
If your child has an overjet that is too large, their top front teeth will protrude far beyond the bottom front teeth. This is more commonly referred to as “buck teeth.” Teeth that stick out too far are much more likely to experience trauma from things like a fall, a ball to the face, and other accidents. The child’s age and unique needs will determine what treatment approach we take, but options most often include:
- bite correction devices
- traditional braces
- removable orthodontic appliances
- tooth extraction
Once Dr. Juan determines the correct treatment for your child’s overjet, they’ll be left with a beautifully balanced smile after it’s completed.
Gaps in teeth are very common, especially in children. They can happen for a number of reasons, including genetics, bad oral habits like thumb sucking or extended pacifier use, or an accident. If your child has a bit too much space between their teeth, Dr. Juan will identify the underlying cause, then create a personalized treatment plan to close the gaps. This will improve the overall appearance and health of your child’s smile.
Gaps can exist because of congenitally missing teeth or a loss of a tooth due to injury or disease. In some cases, Dr. Juan can close the space left by the missing tooth. In other cases, he will properly position the adjacent teeth and the overall bite to ensure the success of a future dental implant (any implants will be done by an oral surgeon, not your orthodontist).
With an open bite, the upper and lower rows of the front teeth don’t touch or close when smiling or chewing. Open bites are often caused by extended thumb sucking in childhood, which can cause the teeth to grow into a noticeably rounded formation. Most thumb habits are easy to break with a gentle, non-pokey appliance. The sooner your child stops the habit, the more the teeth will revert to where they were supposed to be. Dr. Juan can help you come up with a plan to ditch the paci or thumb sucking habit!
An underbite occurs when the bottom teeth protrude in front of the upper teeth (a front-to-back problem). There are several treatment options available for younger patients with underbites at Seabreeze Orthodontics. These include:
- Traditional braces with rubber bands to adjust the misaligned teeth. An additional spring appliance may be used if rubber bands aren’t enough.
- Jaw surgery: this is used to correct the most severe underbite cases
These treatments will make it easier to smile, eat, and even breathe more effectively.
Give your child’s smile a head start at Seabreeze Orthodontics
At Seabreeze Orthodontics in Myrtle Beach, we’re committed to providing personalized care for every child we see. During your child’s evaluation, Dr. Juan will build a personalized treatment plan based on their unique smile needs and the desired results. Our goal is to give every parent and child a rewarding and stress-free experience, from the first appointment to the last!
If you’ve been wondering how orthodontic care could benefit your child, our team would love to meet you both and take a look at how their smile is developing! Our office is conveniently located to serve Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas, so get in touch today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Juan and the team. Let’s work together to create a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles for your child!