Dental Tips Blog


When Does My Child Need an Orthodontist Referral?

Posted in Orthodontics

As your child’s baby teeth fall out and their adult teeth begin to erupt, you’ll probably find yourself wondering if they will need braces, when they will need braces, and at what point they need to be evaluated by an orthodontist. The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends that all children receive their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. At this age, most children have a mixed dentition, with some permanent teeth already erupting, but many primary teeth still in place.

By age 12, most children have lost all of their baby teeth. The majority of parents take their children to the orthodontist after this stage to begin any type of orthodontic treatment. However, if evaluations occur at an earlier age, many orthodontic complications have the potential to be avoided. This can make treatment shorter and more affordable for your child.

Your dentist will conduct a bite analysis on your child as their teeth erupt and their jaws continue to develop. There are different classifications of bites, and considerations given to the bite as to whether or not orthodontic treatment is necessary. If your dentist has a concern about your child’s bite, it may be between ages 7-12 when your dentist recommends a professional orthodontic evaluation.

The earlier your child has access to preventive dental care and alignment corrections, the healthier their smile will be as they enter into adulthood. Straighter teeth are easier to care for, helping prevent gum disease as well as tooth decay. Minor corrections made to jaw development and premature tooth loss prevent lengthy orthodontic treatment later on.

Posted on behalf of Group Health Dental


Bonded vs. Removable Retainers

Posted in Orthodontics

Once your braces come off, you want to do everything you can to keep your teeth straight and prevent them from drifting out of place. Your orthodontic provider will help you do this by creating a retainer that you will wear, which will stabilize the teeth and bone and extend the results of your treatment.

There are two types of retainers that orthodontic patients wear: removable and bonded. A removable retainer is an acrylic or wire tray that is worn around all of your teeth and helps reinforce their position over time, always guiding teeth into place when you wear it. A bonded retainer is a permanent retainer that consists of a smile wire that is cemented to the back of a limited number of the front teeth. Most people have these either between their top two front teeth, or behind their lower 6 front teeth. If your bonded retainer ever comes out, it is important for you to have it cemented back into place as soon as possible.

Your retainer should be kept clean and well cared for to extend the life of the appliance. Even patients that have had their braces off for over 10 years still find it necessary to rely on their removable retainers a few nights a month to secure their tooth alignment. Talk to your hygienist about the best way to keep your appliance clean and free of tartar buildup.

Ask your orthodontic provider about which type of retainer is the best option for you. For people that had significant misalignment or spacing concerns in the front teeth, a bonded retainer may be most appropriate to prevent relapse. Only you and your orthodontist can decide which is the best option for you individually.

Posted on behalf of Group Health Dental

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