If you’ve been wondering how to tell if your child will need orthodontic treatment, you’re not alone! Many parents we meet here at Central Mass Orthodontics ask us this very question. 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 our team of doctors 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. Livanos and Dr. Giarrusso 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 Central Massachusetts patients!
Healthy teeth and gums are an essential component 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, our doctors 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!
When a child has a deep overbite, the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth too much. A deep overbite is very 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 commonly referred to as “buck teeth.” Teeth that stick out too far are much more likely to have trauma occur to them (a fall, a ball to the face, etc.). 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. Livanos and Dr. Giarrusso decide on 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 variety of reasons, from genetics to bad oral habits like thumb sucking or extended pacifier use. If your child has a bit too much space between their teeth, their orthodontist will identify the underlying cause, then create a personalized treatment plan to close the gaps. This will improve the overall appearance 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, our doctors are able to close the space left by the missing tooth. In other cases, our skilled team 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).
Open bite / Habit
With an open bite, the upper and lower rows of the front teeth don’t touch or close when smiling or chewing. Open bites often come from 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.
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 patients with underbites at Central Mass 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 Central Mass Orthodontics
At Central Mass Orthodontics in Worcester, Auburn, and Spencer, we’re committed to providing individualized care for every child we see. During your child’s evaluation, Dr. Livanos and Dr. Giarrusso 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! We have three conveniently located offices, so get in touch today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Livanos, Dr. Giarrusso, and the team. Let’s work together to create a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles for your child!