Orthodontics for Children
Properly aligned smiles affect even the youngest patients' health and confidence. The American Association of Orthodontists® recommends that children visit an orthodontist no later than age seven to ensure their teeth and jaw are developing properly. At this time, the permanent teeth are erupting and the bones are still growing, making their smile more malleable. Drs. David C. Spokane and Melissa Karski offer a combination of palatal expanders, orthopedic devices, and limited braces for kids to correct your child's dentition and help them avoid more extensive treatment in the future. We are also the only practice in the Beaver Falls, PA, area, including the counties of Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence, whose doctors can treat children as young as preschool-age for more serious concerns.
Early Orthodontic Intervention
Why Choose Early Treatment?
If your child is having difficulty enunciating properly or struggling to chew food comfortably, a visit to an orthodontist can help.
Early treatment is designed to improve the relationship between your child's teeth and jaws and reduce the likelihood of more serious complications later in life. During your visit, the orthodontist can carefully examine your child's bite and assess any habits that may be interfering with the development of their smile. Drs. Spokane and Karski can detect subtle skeletal issues that can impact your child's dental function and recommend treatment that will improve the foundation of their smile.
Often, the results of the free initial consult will not result in any detectable problems. The child will then continue to be seen yearly, at no charge, to monitor their growth and development, preventing any issues from arising as permanent teeth erupt.
When to Schedule a Visit
It is recommended that you schedule a consultation for your child by the age of seven and the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) agrees!
Children should be seen even sooner if they have skeletal issues or other concerns such as:
- Cross bite
- Narrow upper jaw
- A severe thumb sucking habit
- Tongue thrusting
- Speech concerns
- Missing teeth
You may also wish to visit our office if your child is exhibiting difficulty enunciating properly, or struggling to chew food comfortably.
What We Can Do
Using a variety of orthodontic techniques and devices, Drs. Karski and Spokane can correct both functional and aesthetic issues. A thumb wire can help your child overcome thumb sucking, and limited braces can correct the projection of protruding teeth. An expansion device can be used to widen the jaw and correct an open bite, which can reduce tongue thrusting. This type of appliance can also treat width or vertical jaw issues, an imbalance between the upper and lower jaw, and speech concerns. If your child has lost teeth early, we may place space maintainers to hold the arches in place and encourage permanent teeth to erupt properly. After treatment, a retainer can maintain your child's results.
Staged Treatment for Optimal Results
For some patients, orthodontic treatment is more effective if it is divided into two phases.
The goal of phase one treatment is to create a strong, healthy foundation. We can use various methods, such as a rapid palatal expander or limited braces, to ensure the patient's jaw develops in a way that will accommodate all the permanent teeth. This can help your child avoid the need avoid the need for braces or treatment later and/or to prevent future complications like extractions or jaw surgery, as well as ensure a better overall outcome.
Phase two treatment involves making sure each tooth is in its exact position and in harmony with the lips, tongue, cheek, and neighboring teeth. This typically includes a short set of braces or some easy Invisalign Express. Patients who have undergone phase one treatmentusually experience less extensive treatment in phase two, if any is needed at all.
Protect Your Child's Smile
If your child is experiencing orthodontic issues, or you simply wish to learn more about your child's options, we encourage you to schedule a complimentary consultation at our office. We can perform a full examination and help you understand your child's current and future oral health needs.
The patient photo and x-ray below show that what is unseen below the surface of the gums is extremely important. This child's permanent canine teeth were angled and pushing on the roots of the lateral incisors.
It is recommended ALL children see an orthodontist by age seven!
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Text us at 724-846-9666 if you have any questions.