At The Village Orthodontist, where your child’s optimum oral health is our number one concern. Whether it’s Invisalign or braces treatment needed, having a healthy mouth can affect the whole body. The best way to make sure your child’s oral health is great is by using our state-of-the-art preventative treatment measures. Don’t react to a problem that has erupted before receiving care. The Village Orthodontist has one of the best orthodontist teams in Maryland and we can help prevent bad habits before they start.
When Should We See An Orthodontist?
We follow the recommendations from the American Association of Orthodontists and encourage patients to start an initial screening at age seven. This allows us to achieve amazing results in a shorter period of time, since the face and jawbones are typically still developing and not set into place. Although every child's development is different, in most kids the first adult molars have typically started to emerge by around age six. This, along with other developmental markers, lets us get a handle on the basic alignment of the teeth, from front to back and side to side. It may also be possible at this point to determine whether there is adequate room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth — and, if not, to take action.
Evaluation Doesn’t Always Mean Treatment
Don’t be concerned that by having Dr. Moles evaluate your child at a young age that he or she will automatically be in need of orthodontic treatment. While there are many ways that Maryland children can benefit from seeing their orthodontist at an early age, not every evaluation results in immediate braces or Invisalign for your child. In most cases, if orthodontic work is needed, we simply monitor your child's growth patterns until we see that it's time for treatment to begin. This gives us an opportunity to get the best results in the most efficient way, and to help prevent future problems.
Why Is Early Treatment Important?
Having Dr. Moles evaluate and screen your child’s teeth and mouth can prevent future problems from developing. We will monitor your child’s growth and determine the best possible time for metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign for teens, or other orthodontic appliances. We understand the individual needs of every child we treat and we love creating beautiful health smiles for all of our Maryland patients - whether an adolescent of an adult! During the screening, if Dr. Moles finds that your child has one of the conditions below, he may recommend a treatment that will help expedite a solution later, and avoid higher costs for later treatment. These include:
If your child’s upper teeth come closed inside the lower teeth, he or she has developed a crossbite. One solution for this problem is installing an orthodontic appliance called a palatal expander. This device can gradually and painlessly widen the upper jaw and works even better on a young child whose jaw is still growing and has not fused together. Once the two pieces of a child’s jaw fuses together as one piece, trying to widen the upper palate may require a more complicated treatment or surgery to fix the problem.
Crowding is another treatment that can be helpful to start early. Crowding happens when your permanent teeth do not have room in the jaws to emerge straight. To expand the jaw, Dr. Moles may recommend either palatal expansion or tooth extraction to help the adult teeth erupt (emerge from below the gums) properly. Even if braces are required later, the treatment time will likely be shorter and less complicated.
Treating your child early could also help with resolving other orthodontic problems such a as protruding teeth. When teeth protrude, especially in the front, they can be more easily chipped or fractured. Protruding teeth can also lead to a negative self-image for young children. Dr. Moles and his staff can begin to fix this problem at an early age with a variety of orthodontic appliances. Underbite A severe underbite, caused by the lower jaw growing much larger than the upper jaw, can result in serious bite problems. Braces and headgear for your child can be successfully used to correct these problems at this stage, when the your child’s mouth and jaw are still developing, so that the possibility for surgery can be avoided.
Correcting Bad Habits
Every child probably has a few bad habits, but there are some patterns that cause problems with the development and function of their teeth, jaws and mouth. When habits like these form and you need help breaking them, Dr. Moles and his staff can offer assistance in the form of advice and orthodontic appliances. Various orthodontic treatments are available to help correct these parafunctional habits — and the sooner they're taken care of, the less damage they may cause. But these potential problems aren't always easy to recognize. That's one more reason why you should bring your child in to your Maryland orthodontist for an early orthodontic screening.
- Thumb Sucking:The sucking reflex is natural in early childhood; it usually disappears between ages 2 and 4. But if it persists much later, the pressure of the digit on the front teeth and the upper jaw can actually cause the teeth to move apart and the jaws to change shape. This can lead to the orthodontic problem called “open bite,” and may impair speech.
- Tongue Thrusting: An open bite can also be caused by the force of the tongue pushing forward against the teeth (tongue thrusting). Dr. Moles and his staff can help correct any bad habits before they develop into a big problem and stop speech impediments or jaw disorient from developing.
- Mouth breathing: Mouth breathing is an abnormal breathing pattern in which the mouth always remains open, passing air directly to the lungs. It can alter the muscular function of the tongue and face. It may cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, which can lead to serious orthodontic problems. Although mouth breathing may start from a physical difficulty, it can become a habitual action that's hard to break.