At Sparkman Orthodontics, we understand that your experiences with orthodontics as a child can have lasting effects. Our board-certified doctors were inspired by their experiences as children to become the skilled professionals they are today, and they’re excited to help the next generation of patients achieve beautiful smiles. We’ve treated countless children with diverse backgrounds and interests, and we are passionate about creating treatment plans that are as unique as our patients. Our team understands that, as a parent, you need a practice you can trust with your child’s oral health, and we strive to make your decision easy and their treatment smooth.
When Should I Consider Taking My Child to See an Orthodontist?
We recommend that you bring your child in as early as age seven so we can provide them with the treatment they need to have a dazzling smile. Your child’s permanent teeth will start coming in at this age, and our skilled team can identify current and potential orthodontic issues.
Although every child’s development is different, the first adult molars typically emerge around age six in most kids. 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. We can also determine whether or not there is adequate room in the mouth for all of their permanent teeth and decide if we need to take action to make room.
How Can an Orthodontist Help My Child?
While we recommend your child come in for a consultation as soon as possible, we won’t necessarily begin treatment immediately. In most cases, we’ll want to place them under observation and keep track of their development to make more informed treatment decisions down the road. Most younger patients don’t get braces put on until ages 9-14. By this time in their life, most of their baby teeth will be gone, but their mouths will still be growing, so we can influence their development and fix minor issues before they develop into more significant problems. The longer you wait, the more complex and time-intensive treatment they’ll need.
Some of the most common issues that early treatment helps solve include crossbite, overcrowding, protruding front teeth, underbite, and more. If allowed to continue, these orthodontic issues can lead to pain or difficulty chewing, biting, speaking, and teeth cleaning. If we catch these problems early, your child can enjoy a shorter and less invasive treatment process that doesn’t require corrective surgery. Early treatment in braces can also end bad habits that can negatively influence their mouth’s growth. Some examples of these habits are persistent thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing. It can be difficult for parents to identify these bad habits and their effects, which is why it’s essential you bring your child in for a consultation with our board-certified orthodontists.
What to Expect When Your Child Starts
The first time you and your child come in, we’ll take pictures and radiographic (X-ray) images of their mouth and, if necessary, take a scan of their bite to see if it requires adjustment. Once we clearly understand their oral health needs and agree upon a treatment plan, we’ll put your child in their appliance. While there will be a short adjustment while they get used to the appliance, most children quickly adapt to the feeling of braces in their mouth. There may be some initial pain or discomfort, and we suggest taking over-the-counter pain medicine or using braces wax to cover the areas that are irritating their soft tissue.
Your child must maintain excellent oral health while in braces. It can take some time to get used to brushing around brackets and wires, so you may want to help them brush away any food debris lodged behind their appliance. We recommend they take a few extra minutes each day during their daily hygiene routine so they can make sure no leftover crumbs or harmful bacteria are sitting on their teeth. We want your child to enjoy a smooth treatment process that isn’t lengthened because of tooth decay or loss. To protect their braces and future dream smile, make sure they continue brushing twice a day and flossing often.
Another adjustment that comes with braces is the necessary change to their diet. Foods that are hard, sticky, or chewy can pull at wires and brackets and lead to broken appliances. While there are few true orthodontic emergencies, we don’t ever want your child to feel uncomfortable in their appliance. By removing these foods from their diet during treatment, you won’t have to worry about prolonging treatment or poking wires.
At Sparkman Orthodontics, we work continuously to exceed our patients’ expectations. We want to provide your child with the best treatments available so that they can enjoy the smile of their dreams for a lifetime. We understand the impact great appliances can have on a kid’s future smile and confidence level, and that’s why we’ve adopted the highest quality braces at our office. Some of the appliances treatment options we offer include:
- Metal Braces – Metal Braces are a classic orthodontic treatment that has remained popular for generations because of their consistently spectacular results. They’re ideal for treating oral health issues big and small and have a high success rate. Over the years, this appliance has been refined to perfection, so it’s sleeker and more efficient than ever. We even offer customized options, such as colored elastic ties on the brackets so that you can add personality to your treatment.
- Clear Braces – Clear braces use ceramic brackets that blend in with the natural color of your smile for a more discreet appearance. These braces are equally as effective as traditional metal braces; however, the ceramic brackets are less durable than the metal version, so they may not be suitable for every patient.
- Damon® System Braces – The Damon bracket uses sliding-door technology known as “self-ligation” that allows the wire to slide back and forth within the bracket. This technology creates less friction and results in greater comfort for the patient. Additionally, Damon braces often reduce both treatment time and the number of adjustments that are usually performed.