Orthodontics is a specialization in the field of pediatric dentistry which focuses on maintaining proper alignment of your child’s teeth. Many children receive orthodontic treatment as they grow to ensure that their teeth are positioned correctly. There are many different types of orthodontic treatment available. Our dentist will help you determine the best option based on your child’s specific dental condition. Sierra Kids Dentistry has many pediatric orthodontic services to fit all of your child’s needs.
The Importance of Orthodontics
Orthodontics have both aesthetic and functional value. Proper alignment of the teeth ensures a normal look and can boost your child’s self-confidence. In addition, orthodontics prevent various dental conditions that can arise from maldeveloped teeth. For instance, misaligned teeth are more prone to decay and disease. The misalignment can also cause pain and difficulty in eating. Orthodontics are used for many reasons, including overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, misplaced midline, improper spacing, and crowding.
Types of Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic appliances can be either fixed or removable. Fixed orthodontic devices include braces, fixed space maintainers, and other special fixed appliances. The most widely used treatment is braces, which are made of bands, wires, and brackets. These also come in many different colors. Fixed space maintainers are used when a baby tooth is lost too early and the space needs to be held for the permanent tooth. Special fixed appliances are the least common since they can be uncomfortable while eating. These are used to control behaviors like thumb sucking and tongue thrusting.
Removable appliances include aligners, appliances to reposition the jaw, lip and cheek bumpers, palatal expanders, retainers, and headgear. There are also removable types of space maintainers. Aligners are only used in teenagers and adults. These are similar to braces. Removable space maintainers serve the same purpose as fixed space maintainers. Jaw repositioning appliances help with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Your child wears this on the upper or lower jaw and they help to realign the jaw. Lip and cheek bumpers relieve pressure on the teeth. Palatal expanders are plastic plates fixed over the roof of the mouth. Screws apply pressure to these plates, which widens the upper jaw. Removable retainers prevent the teeth from shifting and are worn on the roof of the mouth. Headgear involves a metal wire in the front of the face, which is held in place by a strap that goes around the head. This slows growth in the upper jaw and repositions the teeth.
Every procedure is a bit different depending on the exact type of appliance used. In general, recovery from the placement procedures is simple. Our dentist will give more detailed after-care instructions, but these generally include avoiding certain foods, such as hard or sticky foods, and following specific oral hygiene habits. These appliances tend to catch debris, so your child will need to be thorough in cleaning. Our dentist will also discuss a timeline with you; this also depends on the specific dental condition and type of appliance used. You should expect about one to three years between the time of initial placement and permanent removal. Our dentist will also monitor progress with these appliances at your child’s routine appointments. To determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment, call Sierra Kids Dentistry at (775) 473-1247 now.