Orthodontics for Children / Teens
It’s best for the orthodontist to see children by age seven to advise if orthodontic treatment is required and it is the best time for that patient to be treated. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What causes orthodontic problems?
Most orthodontic problems are inherited, including tooth size and jaw size. Overbites, underbites, extra or missing teeth, and irregularities of the jaw, teeth, and face also are inherited. Other orthodontic problems can be caused from accidents, pacifiers or thumb sucking, dental disease, or the premature loss of either the primary or permanent teeth.
- How early should children get an orthodontic evaluation?
At Aubin Orthodontics we use the simple guideline that children should be examined at the time their permanent teeth are beginning to come in. However, every child is different, and the best starting time for orthodontic treatment depends on the type of problem and how severe it is. So the answer really is: “It depends…”If your child requires treatment, early intervention can make a real difference. At Aubin Orthodontics we see the best results with early treatments that would be impossible once your child’s face and jaw have completely developed. During the initial examination, we will evaluate your child’s facial growth, spacing between teeth, crowding, extra or missing teeth. And they will look for habits like tongue-thrusting and thumb-sucking that may hinder normal growth and development. These problems can change tooth alignment as well as alter facial appearance. If your child doesn’t require any early treatment, we generally will schedule periodic follow-up exams while the permanent teeth are coming in and the face and jaws continue to grow. Orthodontic treatment at Aubin Orthodontics can bring your child’s teeth, lips and face into harmony. And we all know that a pleasing appearance and beautiful smile give children — and adults — a big advantage in life.
- What are spacers?
Teeth normally fit tightly against one another. Spacers are inserted before placement of your braces to provide some space between teeth for attaching the bands. There are two types of spacers, small springs or plastic modules. In just a few days they gently move desired teeth slightly apart. Spacers often cause some soreness, but this goes away in a few days. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to relieve the irritation. Your normal chewing also helps to get your mouth feeling better.
- What do I do if a spacer comes out?
Call your doctor immediately for a replacement. That little spacer is making just enough room for a comfortable fit for your braces and plays an important role.
- What foods should I avoid while wearing braces?
You can eat just about anything, but there are some exceptions. At Aubin Orthodontics we feel that getting used to braces also usually means making a few adjustments in your eating habits. This is because some food might damage your braces or cause problems for your teeth. Here is a list of items that your orthodontic team at Aubin Orthodontics suggests you avoid (or some ways they can still be enjoyed with caution):
- Apples (don’t bite into a whole one! Cut it into wedges first.)
- Bubble gum (check with Dr. Aubin for approval)
- Candy (caramels, taffy, nut brittles, fruit-flavored chewy candies, gummi anything!)
- Carrots (avoid sticks, cut into thin curls)
- Corn on the cob (remove the kernels from the cob, then enjoy!)
- Corn chips/crisp tacos
- Hard foods (they’re tough on braces, causing bending and breaking)
- Ice (no crunching!)
- Lemon juice/lemons (pure lemon juice is very hard on your tooth enamel)
- Pizza crust/crusty breads (outer edges)
- Pretzels (the large, hard varieties)
- Sticky foods (can bend wires and pull off brackets)
- Sugary foods (at Aubin Orthodontics, we feel you should avoid these as much as possible)
- How often do I need to brush with braces?
When your mouth is loaded with extras — bands, brackets, and wires — brushing your teeth gets tougher and extra important. Plus, braces interfere with the natural chewing process that normally bathes and exercises gums and helps clean teeth. Preferably you should brush within five minutes after you eat anything, whether you’re snacking or after a meal. Brushing away cavity-causing bacteria helps keep your teeth cavity-free.Carry a travel toothbrush in a backpack, purse, or briefcase to always have on hand for brushing away from home.
- How do I brush my teeth with braces?
Brush between wires and gums to loosen any food particles. There are special toothbrushes for this, check with us for recommendations. At Aubin Orthodontics of Wakefield we suggest you start on the outside of your upper teeth, positioning the bristles at a 45 degree angle, toward the gum. Brush two to three teeth at a time using a circular motion, about ten strokes.
- Next, brush the inner surfaces in the same manner.
- Brush the chewing surfaces.
- Repeat the same process for the lower teeth as for the upper ones.
- Rinse your mouth as well as your toothbrush. Check your teeth in a mirror to make sure you’ve brushed all tooth surfaces.
- Floss daily between braces using a floss threader.
- Toothpicks, stimudents, and other interdental devices work well under brackets.
At Aubin Orthodontics of Wakefield we often suggest you use a water oral hygiene device that helps to remove food particles the toothbrush may not reach. It is used in addition to brushing and flossing, not as a substitute.
While wearing braces, be sure to schedule regular dental exams every three to six months for cleanings to keep your teeth and gums healthy.