You probably already know that dentists and orthodontists focus on different branches of dentistry, but what is it exactly that orthodontists focus on? Orthodontists specialize in correcting teeth and jaws that are improperly positioned. This covered a range of issues from misaligned bites to gaps between teeth to crowded teeth. While issues like crooked teeth may seem like an aesthetic issue, teeth that don’t fit together properly can actually lead to further dental health problems like tooth decay, TMJ symptoms, and extra stress on chewing muscles.

Do you know whether or not your child should visit an orthodontist? We’ve put together a guide to help you and your child learn more about orthodontics:

When should my child see an orthodontist?

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists states that children should see an orthodontist no later than seven years old. Sometimes it may be necessary for children as young as two or three to see an orthodontist.

How do I know if my child needs to see an orthodontist?

Your dentist will recommend when your child needs a visit to the orthodontist for treatment after diagnostic testing, which can include dental exams, plaster models, X-rays, and photographs.

Why should my child see an orthodontist?

While adult orthodontics are becoming more popular, it’s beneficial to nip these dental problems in the bud. Orthodontic problems are easier to treat in childhood before jaw growth has slowed. Early orthodontics can also help your child avoid surgery or extensive dental work in the future.

As mentioned above, orthodontic treatments can help treat physical dental health problems like tooth decay and chewing pain. But they can also help improve your child’s self-esteem by giving him or her a straighter smile.

What kind of orthodontic treatments are available?

Orthodontic treatments can cover more than just braces! There are two main types of orthodontic treatments – fixed appliances and removable appliances. Fixed appliances include braces, space maintainers, and special tools that can help control thumb-sucking or tongue thrusting. Removable appliances include clear aligners (typically only used by teenagers and adults), removable space maintainers, jaw repositioning appliances, lip and cheek bumpers, palatal expenders, retainers, and headgear.

What type of orthodontic treatment does my child need?

The type of appliance your child requires depends on his or her needs. Braces and retainers are used to help bring your child’s teeth into a proper position. Space maintainers are used if your child loses a baby tooth too early – they keep the space open until your child’s adult tooth grows in. If your child has a misaligned jaw, jaw-repositioning appliances, a palatal expander or headgear may be recommended.

Not sure if your child needs to see an orthodontist? Visit Growing Smiles in Toronto, Thornhill, Guelph, or Etobicoke for a diagnosis! Growing Smiles has experience in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics to provide a safe and comfortable experience for your child. Visit their website today to learn more about their services.

Sources: Colgate, Canadian Association of Orthodontists

Featured image source: Smile Central Dental

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