- December 15, 2015
You’ve heard the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” You also know this means that preventive actions are the best way to avoid health problems.
In the field of dentistry, our team at Donaldson 3D Orthodontics also prefers to prevent problems whenever possible.
That’s the reason we encourage parents to bring their children to see us when their children are around 7 years old. We’ll explain how visiting our dentist offices in New Iberia and Broussard to start preventive orthodontic treatment can reduce or eliminate the need for orthodontic appliances as your children get older.
This saves you time and money in the long run. It helps you keep your mouth healthy, and that should make everyone a little happier.
What are preventive orthodontics?
When most people think of orthodontics, they think of teenagers wearing braces or some other appliance. You also may know some adults who wearing orthodontics, since that has become more common.
These are both examples of corrective or cosmetic orthodontic care. So what exactly are preventive orthodontics?
As the name suggests, this is a type of orthodontic care to prevent problems. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontic specialist on or before they turn 7 years old.
The purpose of this visit is to evaluate your child’s mouth as their permanent teeth emerge. This is a time when your child’s mouth is quite active. As they lose their baby teeth, their adult molars and incisors will start to erupt.
We will be looking for a few things. First and foremost, does your child have enough room in his or her mouth for their adult teeth to come in correctly? Second, are your child’s arches the right shape and size for how they will grow?
If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you will have peace of mind knowing that things are going well. If the answer to one or both questions is no, then we can start looking at possible preventive steps to reduce the need for long-term orthodontic care.
What are examples of preventive orthodontic treatment?
Each child’s needs will vary, but some preventive orthodontic treatments are more common than others.
Space maintainers are something we may use after your child starts losing his or her baby teeth.
Baby teeth serve as a guide for your child’s permanent teeth. If one of his or her baby teeth falls out sooner than it should, that can lead to other problems. The neighboring teeth can drift into the empty space, which may affect how the permanent tooth erupts.
A space maintainer will keep the neighboring teeth in their proper position. That will give the adult tooth room to emerge.
Some children’s upper arches of teeth are not wide enough to allow all their teeth to come in correctly. An expander can be attached to you child’s upper teeth. It will be adjusted as needed to widen his or her arch to create the space for their adult teeth to emerge.
Another common type of preventive orthodontics is a forsus. This is a spring system that attaches to your child’s top and bottom teeth. The springs are connected to pieces of metal.
This allows the forsus to push or pull your child’s arches as needed. For example, this may be used to pull the upper jaw back and push the lower jaw forward. This is a great way to fix an overbite in the early stages.
Why might your child may need preventive orthodontics?
The reasons our child may need preventive orthodontics are similar to the reason they may need corrective orthodontics when they become teenagers.
The difference is that preventive care is like trying to head off a problem early. It’s similar to the dilemmas you face with correcting your children’s behavior.
If you make it clear that our child should not do a certain thing, then he or she is less likely to do that thing. If however you allow your child do something for years, then try to get him or her to stop, you will have a much more difficult time changing that behavior.
By stepping in early with preventive care, we can save your child from more complex orthodontic care later. They may still need orthodontic treatment, but the solution will be easier than it would have been without any preventive efforts.
Start with a consultation
As your child’s 7th birthday approaches, make an appointment to visit Donaldson 3D Orthodontics for an evaluation. We have dentist offices in New Iberia and Broussard.
You are welcome to use our online form or to call 337-465-4139 to make an appointment.
New patients are welcome, too. Please print and fill out a new patient form to bring with you during your first visit.