Signs That You Might Need Braces
For many patients, getting braces is a big decision that affects oral health. How do you know whether you or your child needs braces, though? Some symptoms are obvious: misplaced or crowded teeth, or teeth that don’t meet normally. Other signs that you need braces are more inconspicuous, though, such as biting the cheek or a jaw that pops or shifts. While some of these symptoms are more serious than others, orthodontic care is the way to go to alleviate pain and correct any underlying issues. Learn about what signs you should be looking for to decide if braces are right for you with these tips!
What To Look Out For
As our teeth begin to erupt at a young age, they can fill into improper spaces or cause problems with adjacent teeth. Crooked or misaligned teeth aesthetically aren’t very pleasing for people, and most patients end up receiving orthodontic treatment during some point in their lives. Orthodontic problems don’t always mean crooked teeth, though. While there are some obvious signs that you might benefit from orthodontics, such as crowded teeth or an underbite/overbite, there are other symptoms that are less noticeable but equally as undesirable. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8, but if certain complications are present, your child does not and should not wait until that age to be seen. If you have a young child, look for some of the following symptoms that warrant orthodontic care:
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Early, late or irregular loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
As children age, orthodontic problems will begin to show themselves, but some don’t appear until adulthood. No matter your age or prior orthodontic care, there are other symptoms that indicate a problem and should be addressed by an orthodontist. If you are struggling with a popping jaw, have to breathe through your mouth on a regular basis, are constantly biting your cheeks, and/or noticing teeth or jaws that are out of proportion to the rest of your face, you should have an orthodontic consultation. While many of these symptoms seem harmless or aren’t very noticeable, they can have long-term consequences that can negatively affect your oral health. Braces can remedy these issues so that your oral health isn’t compromised. It’s never too late for you to take charge of your oral health and get the smile that you deserve!
Advantages of Early Orthodontics
Not all kids will need orthodontic care, but many will. Meeting with your child’s dentist early on will help them determine whether your child would benefit from orthodontic treatment. If you have a child who needs an orthodontic issue remedied, there are certain advantages that come after receiving braces. Having your child evaluated by an orthodontist can help he/she observe the progress of incoming teeth, guide teeth into their ideal positions, monitor face and jaw development, detect hidden dental issues and reduce the risk of impacted teeth. For young children, orthodontic visits can sometimes be scary. Nonetheless, child orthodontic visits are simple and non-intrusive, so as to keep your child comfortable and happy. At Belmar Orthodontics, we do our best to give your child the care they need while making sure that their fears and questions are addressed. For adolescents, our options at include aesthetically-minded treatment options that will help your teen feel less self-conscious about braces. Braces can sometimes be seen as “dorky” or “uncool” for teens, but the list of options your teenager can choose from will give them plenty of choices to get straight teeth while still looking cool. Good oral health habits are started at a young age, and bringing your child in to see the orthodontist will help them establish those habits that will last a lifetime.
How You Can Benefit From Adult Orthodontics
Against popular belief, braces and orthodontic care aren’t just for kids and teenagers! In fact, one in five orthodontic patients is an adult; in just the U.S. and Canada alone, more than a million orthodontic patients are adults! You, as an adult, can benefit from the same care that young patients do and fix the orthodontic problems that you’ve been suffering from since childhood. As long as your teeth are healthy, you can receive orthodontic treatment at any age. The most common benefits of adult orthodontics include the following:
- More discreet treatment methods
- Correction of lifetime dental issues
- Faster treatment time than previous treatments
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
It’s important to note, however, that any previous orthodontic problems, such as periodontal disease or decayed/missing teeth, will need to be addressed before an orthodontic appliance can be placed. Once those issues are fixed, you’ll be fitted with braces and can continue your life just as usual. If you so choose, you can even opt in for hidden lingual braces or Invisalign clear, which will get you the straight teeth that you want while being completely unnoticeable. Speak with your orthodontist to determine which braces would be best for your needs before making any decisions.
Staying On Top Of Your Oral Health
Before any patient can receive orthodontic treatment, the health of their teeth, gums and mouth will first be evaluated. For this reason, it is important that children and adults alike are brushing twice a day and flossing on a nightly basis. The foods we eat also affects our oral health, as well. Especially during orthodontic treatment, certain foods, like sticky or sugary candies and food, can damage orthodontic appliances and make it easier for tooth decay to develop as plaque builds up on teeth. Brushing and flossing will partly diminish the effects of these foods, but not entirely. Make sure that you and your children are eating a healthy diet with minimal sugary snacks to avoid dental complications during treatment.
To ensure good oral health during and after orthodontic treatment, schedule an appointment with Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for a consultation.
Tips for Success with Early Orthodontics
You need to help your child learn how to properly take of their teeth through brushing and flossing. However, having clean teeth isn’t everything. Early orthodontics is needed for some children who have bite and alignment problems that could lead to problems later on in life. Early orthodontics seeks to correct bites to avoid problems with speech, biting, chewing, and more. If done correctly, early orthodontics can set a child on the path to a healthy mouth free of tooth decay and gum disease. Read on for our tips for success with early orthodontics and for protecting the health of small mouths!
Caring for the Baby Teeth
Your child’s teeth are delicate. Help keep them healthy and strong with the following tips:
- Rinse with water before brushing. Teach your child to rinse with water after eating. This will loosen food that may be caught in the braces. Follow rinsing with a thorough brushing. Teach your child how to properly brush their teeth and monitor them after they are able to use a toothbrush on their own. You will have to brush your child’s teeth until around age 3, or until they have the dexterity to brush and floss alone. Make sure they brush long enough, correctly, and several times a day. Brush an infant’s teeth with an infant toothbrush and increase the toothbrush size as they age. Children will need about a pea-size amount of toothpaste and infants will only need toothpaste equal to the size of a grain of rice.
- Floss once a day. Ensure your child is flossing each day or each night. Flossing helps loosen food debris and plaque at and under the gum line that can harden into tartar. Flossing also helps remove food debris from the small, hard-to-reach areas of the teeth that might be difficult to reach with a toothbrush. Flossing takes time to learn, so practice this skill frequently with your child.
- Use a fluoride rinse. Parents should always be the one to administer a fluoride rinse. Rinse with fluoride after brushing and before bed to help keep teeth strong and healthy. This treatment will help prevent tooth decay in your little one.
- Schedule dental visits every 6 months. After your child starts getting teeth, they should visit the dentist for a checkup and cleaning every 6 months. This will help keep your child’s mouth healthy during treatment.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first orthodontic visit between the ages of 7 and 8. Having an examination early-on will prevent the progression of orthodontic issues that can become severe later on in life. Not having your child’s bite checked can lead to problems with their teeth coming in correctly or staying upright. Teeth may form gaps between one another, making speech impediments common and making it more difficult to bite and chew food. Crooked teeth coupled with a misaligned bite also leads to chipped, broken or cracked teeth, as well as a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
With early orthodontics, you are making an investment in your child’s future that will set them up for success the rest of their life. Early orthodontics is different than simply receiving braces as an adult or teenager. We adhere braces to your child’s teeth and then during their treatment we can:
- Observe the progress of incoming teeth
- Monitor facial and jaw development
- Guide incoming teeth into their ideal position
- Detect hidden dental issues
- Reduce the risk of impacted teeth
- Decrease the risk for permanent tooth extractions
Caring for Braces
At each appointment, we will adjust the wires so that a child’s bite will eventually line up correctly. These braces need to be cared for just as much as an adult’s or teenager’s braces. Cleaning the teeth with braces is much trickier, especially for young children, so their success is dependent upon how much parents help them care for their braces.
We suggest the following for having success with your child’s braces:
- Brush after every meal. If food doesn’t have time to sit on the teeth long, then you can prevent stained teeth and reduce the risk for bacteria buildup. This keeps your child healthier.
- Use threadable floss or a floss threader. Don’t let your child skip on their flossing or they could wind up with tooth decay when those braces come off.
- Use a proxabrush or waterpik. A proxabrush is a “Christmas tree brush” that you place between two brackets and below the archwire. Brushing back and forth can give the teeth a better clean. For hard-to-reach places in the mouth, children can also use a waterpik. This is a device that shoots water to dislodge stuck food. Children get a better clean when these two tools are used.
- Avoid hard or sticky foods. These types of foods lead to tooth decay or broken brackets. Avoid hard or chewy candies, chips, ice, apples, popcorn, nuts, corn on the cob, caramel and more.
Does Your Child Need Early Orthodontics?
If you haven’t gone to visit an orthodontist, schedule an appointment today! You can also ask your dentist if they see problems forming with your child’s bite and alignment. However, only an orthodontist can perform child orthodontics. Investing your time in correcting your child’s bite can set them up for success for the rest of their life. To schedule your child’s appointment for early orthodontics, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!