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Carousel Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Part One of the Ultimate Guide to Children's Orthodontics

September 16, 2022
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Posted By: Carousel Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
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Many people consider crooked teeth a cosmetic concern, but the health benefits of straight teeth are significant. Though straight teeth contribute to an attractive smile, it also improves one's dental and overall health. If your child has crooked, overlapping, or malpositioned teeth or jaws, our Carousel Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics dentists offer braces in Apple Valley, MN.

What Is Children's Orthodontics?

Children's orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting and aligning the teeth and jaws to improve a child's oral health, comfort, dental function, and aesthetics. When teeth don't align properly, the result is what we call "malocclusion." 

Malocclusion can include:

  • Crowding or spacing issues
  • Deep bites
  • Overbites 
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites
  • Open bites
  • Edge-to-edge bites
  • Excessive overjet
  • Crooked, twisted, or protruding teeth

At Carousel Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, helping children achieve healthy, beautiful smiles is a priority. Our dentists can evaluate your child's oral health and bite to determine if they need orthodontic treatment to guide their teeth and bite into the optimal position. 

Why Do Children Need Braces?

Many people think braces can only correct crooked teeth, but braces can do so much more than that. Aside from malocclusion and misaligned bites, braces can help if your child experiences any of the following:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Trouble chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Protruding teeth
  • Jaws that make sounds, shift, protrude, or are recessed
  • Finger sucking or other poor oral habits
  • Cheek biting or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry
  • Teeth that fail to meet

Please keep in mind this list isn't exhaustive. If you have questions about your child's potential need for orthodontics, please see us at Carousel Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Braces?

As first teeth fall out and adult teeth emerge, those new teeth won't always grow perfectly straight into their assigned spots. Often, emerging teeth can come in at an angle and straighten their position as your child's mouth grows. So, please don't panic or think your child will need braces based on the appearance of their early adult teeth. However, if their teeth remain crooked or malpositioned, or if they experience any of the above issues, we recommend having an evaluation with Dr. Katie at Carousel Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics.

At What Age Can Kids Get Braces?

The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends that children have an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. The dentist can evaluate the child's bite, oral habits, and airway by this age. Most children get braces between the ages of nine and 14, but the age a child can get braces truly depends on that specific child's needs and oral development. At Carousel Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, our pediatric dentists in Apple Valley are among the area's most trusted and experienced pediatric dentists. Your child's needs and safety come first, and we will do everything in our power to ensure your child's oral health is well cared for. 

What Are the Benefits of Children's Orthodontics?

Straight teeth and aligned jaws have numerous health benefits for children, such as:

#1 Reduces the Risk of Dental Damage 

Straight, aligned teeth are healthier than crooked or malpositioned teeth. Straight teeth also last longer and reduce the risk of damage from biting and chewing pressures. Bite problems can lead to premature wear on teeth, chips, fractures, notching, and breaks. This damage to the teeth can wear them down and put your child at risk for periodontal health problems, like gum disease. 

#2 Helps Prevent and Treat Jaw Problems 

A bad bite can strain the teeth and temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect the jaw to the skull. When these jaw joints and surrounding muscles are weakened and irritated by crooked or misaligned teeth, your child can experience jaw pain, earaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and headaches. Treating malocclusion can eliminate or prevent these issues and provide relief.

#3 Helps Prevent Gum Disease 

Crooked, misaligned teeth are difficult to clean thoroughly and remove bacteria and plaque. In contrast, straight teeth are much easier to clean because there are fewer nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide. Lingering bacteria can trigger periodontal (gum) disease and infect oral tissues and teeth-supporting bones. Periodontal disease can also lead to red, puffy, and bleeding gum tissue, especially when brushing or flossing. Over time as the infection progresses, the chronic inflammation damages the soft tissues and can result in gum recession, bone loss, and tooth loss. 

#4 Protects Overall Health 

Effective oral hygiene that removes bacteria ultimately protects your overall health. Infections in the mouth can potentially endanger the entire body. Bacteria that attack gum tissue can travel through the bloodstream and damage arteries, increasing the risk of heart problems and other conditions. Caring for your child's teeth and gums ultimately helps their entire body! 

Types of Braces at Carousel Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics

Our Apple Valley dental office provides children with a few different orthodontic treatment options.

#1 Conventional Metal Braces

Conventional metal braces are what most people think of when they imagine braces. Modern metal orthodontics are less bulky and lighter than braces of years past. Metal braces use stainless-steel brackets and wires to move the teeth and jaws into position. The dentist adheres the brackets to each tooth and threads the wire through the braces across the teeth. Manipulating these wires over time allows Dr. Katie to shift the teeth into proper alignment. Metal braces require excellent oral hygiene to remove food debris and plaque around the brackets and wires. Your dentist can show you how to properly clean your teeth while wearing braces. 

#2 Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces have ceramic brackets instead of stainless-steel brackets. The ceramic is tooth-colored, so the only visible part of the braces are the wires that link the brackets. As with metal braces, brush and floss around the wires and brackets to dislodge food and remove plaque. Also, ceramic braces are often less durable than metal, so take extra care to avoid damaging the brackets. 

#3 Invisalign® in Apple Valley, MN 

Invisalign is a discreet alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign uses clear, comfortable, and removable trays that sequentially move the teeth over time. They can be used for many orthodontic problems like crowding, deep bites, overbites, crossbites, and gaps. The benefit of using Invisalign for orthodontic treatment is that the trays are removable for eating, drinking, and brushing––which makes dental hygiene much easier. The smooth plastic aligner trays don't irritate the mouth like metal braces often do. Also, because Invisalign aligners are wire-free, children and teens can wear them confidently. 

Call Us About Apple Valley Orthodontics MN

Are you wondering if your child needs braces or orthodontic treatment in Apple Valley? Please call us to schedule an evaluation with our dentists at Carousel Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. We look forward to helping your child have the healthy and beautiful smile they deserve! 

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