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A parents’ guide to giving kids a straighter smile

So you think your child might need braces - but where do you start? Is it best to have them fitted as a child? Or in the teenage years? Smile 101 Orthodontic Centre in Guildford have this advice.

Invisalign First, braces for children
Invisalign First

How young is too young?

Firstly, it’s never too young to be seen by a specialist orthodontist – with modern practices focusing on prevention rather than intervention later in life. So the message here is, the sooner the better!

Ideally, you want your child to be seen by an orthodontist no later than their 7th birthday. It’s a good idea to start the process early to begin monitoring the growth and development of their teeth, and diagnose any problems early on. And it may even save you money in the long run. You don’t have to wait until all of your child’s baby teeth have fallen out.

What problems should parents be on the look out for?

There’s a bunch of teethy terms to describe the potential problems your child might have with their smile. But here’s a quick run down of some of the common orthodontic problems that may need treatment:

  • Open bite – this is a condition in which the upper and lower front teeth do not matter together when the mouth is closed. 
  • Anterior crossbite – this occurs when the upper front teeth are placed backwards compared with the lower ones. 
  • Class III malocclusion – this is a condition in which the lower jaw protrudes excessively forwardly, compared to its upper counterpart. 
  • Crowding – this problem occurs when there is insufficient space for all the to align themselves optimally in the upper or lower jaw. 
  • Diastema – this is a condition where there is an excessive gap between the adjacent teeth. 
  • Deep Bite – this occurs when the upper front teeth excessively overlap the lower front ones vertically. 

Children who grind their teeth or suck their thumb or finger may be more prone to problems, so it’s worth keeping a close eye on this too.

Okay, so my kid needs braces. What are the options?

Obviously, the type of braces recommended by your orthodontist will depend on your child’s particular problem, but the types of braces include:

  • Traditional metal braces – These have steel ties which hold the wires between the brackets in place.
  • Damon braces – These do not have steel ties, as the brackets themselves hold the wires in place.
  • Invisalign ® (or other clear or removable aligners) – These fit over the child’s teeth in a way that resembles a mouth guard.
Invisalign First, braces for children
Invisalign First

And what’s the best age to have them fitted?

Again, it depends on the problem, and how soon it’s been diagnosed.

Braces like Invisalign First can be fitted on children between the ages of 5-10, and these can prevent dental issues getting worse as their teeth develop.

For teenagers, Invisalign Teen are virtually invisible clear aligners which gradually move the teeth over time. They can be used on mild and complex cases, but the main benefit is that they are removable which means there are no restrictions on what your child can eat and drink and they can continue to play sport without worrying about their braces.

And what happens after the braces come off?

Retainers are essential after braces are removed to make sure that straightened teeth stay that way. This is a fixed or removable appliance that your orthodontist will give you after completing your orthodontic treatment.

Smile 101 Orthodontic Centre is offering a free consultation to all children during the school summer holidays.

Smile 101 Orthodontic Centre, 57 Quarry Street, Guildford, GU1 3UA. smile101.co.uk

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