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Pediatric Orthodontic Treatment

Although orthodontic treatments make it possible to solve your problems at any age, we can also prevent some of them before they grow. We can save our children from having serious treatments in the future, by intervening in some problems from 8 years of age. Most importantly, do not forget to have your child’s first orthodontic examination at 7 years of age. Although your child’s teeth look well aligned, he/she may have a problem that only an orthodontist can notice.

If does any of the following 8 reasons exists, your child may need early preventive treatment:

  • Unfavorable habits related to the mouth (thumb sucking, lip sucking, mouth breathing, or wrong tongue position)
  • Premature or delayed loss of baby teeth or problems about the eruption of permanent teeth (some of them can only be seen via x-rays)
  • Upper front teeth protruding outward (can easily be damaged due to impact or falling down)
  • Crowding in the posterior or anterior region
  • Difficulties with biting or chewing
  • Improper cross-bite relationship between upper and lower anterior teeth (may cause abrasion on the front teeth, and in severe cases, may also cause undesired jaw growth)
  • Improper cross-bite relationship between upper and lower posterior teeth (may cause the lower jaw to shift to one side, or grow lopsided)
  • Undesirable, bad appearance

Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Problems in Children

What kinds of dental disorders can be observed in children?

Both skeletal problems such as underdeveloped upper jaw (maxillary hypoplasia) or overdeveloped upper jaw (maxillary prognathism) and dental problems such as crowding caused by misalignment may be observed in children at early ages. These may begin to become noticeable from 6 years of age.

When can orthodontic disorders (dental crowding and jaw disorders) be treated in children?

These problems can be treated in children from 7 years of age. However, this does not always mean that we will start the treatment at 7 years of age, because the problem in the mouth of our patient is important in this regard.

At what age should the first examination be done in children?

The first orthodontic examination in children should be done at 7 years of age.

My child’s teeth look good, so should I take him/her to a doctor?

The answer to this question is “yes”. Many problems in children may not be noticed at first glance. Missing teeth, jaw narrowness or malocclusion disorders seen only in X-rays can be easily overlooked by Parents. Therefore, children should definitely see an orthodontist for examination.

⦁ Are these problems in children genetic (i.e. congenital) or acquired?

The both cases are possible. Some of these problems occur in children with genes transmitted from parents. Transmission of jaws and teeth in improper sizes from parents to child may cause gaps between teeth severe dental crowding. Malocclusion disorders can also appear as problems such as overdeveloped lower jaw (mandibular prognathism) or underdeveloped upper jaw (maxillary hypoplasia) in children due to genes transmitted from parents.

In some cases, these also develop after their birth. Early childhood tooth decay, long-term use of pacifiers or baby bottles, or bad habits such as finger sucking and nail biting can lead to problems after birth.

Can jaw narrowness be noticed when viewed from the outside by parents?

Especially maxillary narrowness is a condition more noticeable in the posterior teeth. Therefore, it is usually not easy to notice these problems by viewing from the outside. Their presence should be determined by an orthodontist through a detailed examination.

Is nutrition important in tooth development in children?

It is critical to ensure that children receive the basic substances that constitute the structure of their teeth both in the womb and after birth. Therefore, including foods containing calcium and protein in children’s diets supports them to have a healthier dental structure. Limiting the consumption of sugary foods, not allowing children to keep sugary foods in their mouth for a long time, and limiting the use of sugary drinks are also very important in terms of maintaining a healthy tooth structure.

Does uncomfortable breathing cause problems in children, and is there any precaution that can be taken to ensure proper breathing during sleep?

The ability to breathe comfortably through the nose is important for children (and of course for adults), in terms of both oral health and the whole body health. Problems that prevent children’s nasal breathing such as adenoid and tonsils that grow and block the airway should be examined by a pediatrician and an ear nose and throat specialist.

In addition, one of the most important causes of respiratory problems is maxillary narrowness. A maxillary narrowness reduces the volume of the respiratory tract, preventing children from breathing comfortably; and creates the need for supporting the respiratory by breathing through the mouth. Another preparatory condition appears in children with a recessed lower jaw. Similarly, recessed lower jaw reduces the volume of the respiratory tract, causing children to breathe through the mouth. Mouth breathing, on the other hand, creates a suitable environment for dental caries and malocclusion problems.

Therefore, the presence of these conditions (if any) should be determined after an orthodontic examination; and if necessary, maxillary narrowness and underdeveloped lower jaw (mandibular hypoplasia) of children should definitely be treated.

Does jaw narrowness cause problems in children’s nutrition, and does it have an effect on children’s development?

Chewing, as the first step of nutrition, can be achieved through proper mutual relationship of the upper and lower teeth. Since the ideal relationship between the lower and upper jaw teeth cannot be achieved in cases of maxillary narrowness, it may cause children to swallow without chewing enough or in some cases, to exhibit behaviors of reluctance to eat due to the inability chew correctly.

Nutritional disruptions also prevent children from getting the necessary building blocks regularly for their development.

In which cases should the treatment be started at an early age, and does delaying the treatment at early ages lead to any harms?

Starting the treatment at an early age for conditions we mentioned above, such as maxillary narrowness, overdeveloped upper jaw (maxillary prognathism), the lower jaw overlapping the upper jaw (known as underbite) or severe dental crowding, can save children from much more complicated treatments that will need to be done in the future.

Treatments planned and started at the right time do not harm children; on the contrary, provide significant benefits.

Is jaw narrowness the cause of crooked teeth, and does the crookedness disappear when the jaws are widened?

In many cases, crowding is not caused by maxillary or mandibular narrowness in the right-left direction. Although the enlargement of the jaws provides some space and advantage for the alignment of the teeth to a certain extent, it is not enough to solve the problem on its own; so the teeth need to be aligned with orthodontic treatment.

Is brace placement the only treatment method for children, and is there any treatment method alternative to it?

We have long been familiar with fixed wires and braces which can be attached to an appliance and then the teeth, and which can be used by children in the early period.

In the current situation, there are orthodontic treatments that we perform using transparent plaques instead of braces, in order to align the children’s teeth and solve malocclusion problems. With these methods, we have the ability to start treatments at an early age and solve several problems at the same time.

Is there any difference between braces or transparent plaques in terms of comfort of children between, and is it possible for children to see the doctor with fewer appointments?

Unlike braces, transparent plaques are devices that children can remove when necessary. This provides two important advantages: The first is that when children remove the plaques, they can eat comfortably with no braces in their mouths; and the second is that tooth decays are much less likely to occur because children can brush their teeth more easily after removing the plaques.

Is it necessary to wait for the eruption of all teeth before attaching braces or starting a treatment?

At this point, the decision to be made by the orthodontist is of great importance. In some cases, it is necessary to wait for the eruption of all teeth, but in some other cases the treatment can be started with an early intervention, with no need to wait for all teeth.

Will teeth corrected at an early age get misaligned again at developmental ages or after 18 years of age?

Correcting the teeth at an early age, and consequently establishing the ideal occlusion relationship between the lower and upper teeth ensures other teeth to come to the right place in the mouth at later ages. We follow up our patients treated at an early age at regular intervals to check to see if the development is in the right direction.

Does the eruption of wisdom teeth cause misalignment of the teeth?

If the teeth are properly aligned in proper occlusion relationship with each other, eruption of wisdom teeth does not cause any significant problem. However, in all cases where they have no place in the mouth, we prefer extracting wisdom teeth.

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