Pediatric Orthodontics: FAQ’s

Pediatric Orthodontics in East Brunswick, NJDo I need to wait until my child has permanent teeth to ask about orthodontic treatment?

No. There are some craniofacial issues that require treatment before permanent teeth erupt. A child’s growth and development helps determine the optimal time for that child to begin orthodontics in East Brunswick.

Is it possible for teeth to straighten themselves as permanent teeth grow?

Shifting may happen, but no, permanent teeth will not grow in straight if there is not enough available space. In fact, once permanent molars erupt, that available space begins to shrink.

Is there an ideal time to start orthodontics?

Ideally, you should have your child evaluated by the time they turn 7 or when orthodontic issues arise. Even if care is not necessary at such a young age, having the baseline exam on record is beneficial for future treatment. Early evaluation catches problems when treatment is more effective and often prevents more serious issues down the road.

Why is 7 the recommended age for an initial orthodontic evaluation?

It’s all about the adult molars. A back bite is established after the first set of adult molars erupt. At this point, orthodontists can check on how the teeth fit together. They will look for potential crowding, excess space, overbite, underbite, open bite, and crossbite.

What is early treatment beneficial?

By creating room for permanent teeth to grow into, many children and adolescents can avoid future space-related extractions. Since bones are still growing, it is easier to make an impact on jaw growth in less time. Treatment time with braces is reduced, as is the possibility of trauma to protruding front teeth.

What can happen if we opt-out of treatment for malocclusions?

The American Association of Orthodontists is clear on the problems that can be caused by untreated malocclusions. Protruding teeth are at greater risk of chipping or breaking. Teeth can grow and wear unevenly in children with crossbites, while open bites can cause tongue thrusting. Any type of malocclusion can contribute to speech issues. To top it off, crowded teeth tend to have hidden nooks and crannies that are perfect for tiny food particles and bacteria to hide in during brushing, thereby increasing the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease.

What happens if my child loses a baby tooth too early due to injury or decay?

Spacers are used to ensure the pathways for permanent teeth remain open. Without a spacer, the nearby teeth can shift into the empty space and create problems when it is time for the permanent tooth to erupt.

What is Phase One orthodontics?

It is the first step taken to nip problems in the bud and boost self-esteem. Children between the ages of 7 and 10 who are in need of corrective treatment can expect Phase One to last around 1 to 2 years.

Should I change my dental hygiene routine while in braces?

Yes. Rather than twice a day, patients with braces are encouraged to brush their teeth in the morning, after every meal, and before bed for a minimum of four times a day. Your dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial fluoride mouthwash if necessary.

Can I still eat whatever I want while wearing braces?

No. Anything hard or sticky is basically off your list. Avoid sugary food as often as possible to help prevent decay. Ice and hard candy are known to break wires and other small dental appliances, but did you know raw, crunchy vegetables can also be a culprit? Caramel and taffy seem to enjoy pulling wires and even brackets off of teeth. If you are unsure, you should probably avoid the food.

At East Brunswick Pediatric Dentistry, we stand by the recommendations of the American Association of Orthodontists. Give us a call at (732) 238-5100 if you have any questions or concerns about East Brunswick orthodontics. We are here for you.