Pediatric OrthodontistGilroy, CA
Orthodontics is not just for teens and adults. It can also be a vital part of a child’s oral health care. A pediatric orthodontist gets trained to recognize and address any signs that a child may need early orthodontic treatment. Choosing to treat any orthodontic needs at a young age can provide many benefits.
The American Dental Association recommends every child have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven. A pediatric orthodontist is available at Richard R. Gallagher DDS MSD MSE PhD Inc. in Gilroy and the surrounding area. Call us at (408) 500-0810 to schedule an appointment.
Pediatric Orthodontics Explained
Pediatric orthodontics is designed to treat younger children with potential jaw alignment and bite issues. Often the focus is on the width of the dental arches. Early treatment can help widen those arches and provide enough space for the permanent teeth to grow correctly. That helps with tooth alignment and jaw position.
Compared to treatment for teens and adults, pediatric orthodontics will focus on any irregularities with the patient, including genetic factors, baby teeth that have gotten lost too early, and damaging habits such as thumb sucking. After identifying any issues, a pediatric orthodontist can implement an early intervention strategy.
“Pediatric orthodontics is designed to treat younger children with potential jaw alignment and bite issues.”
Understanding a Pediatric Orthodontist
A pediatric orthodontist focuses on the growth and development of the teeth and jaw. While dentists may notice initial orthodontic problems, only a pediatric orthodontist has the special training needed to do a full evaluation and determine a treatment plan. In addition, compared to traditional orthodontists, a pediatric orthodontist is equipped to handle the unique complexities of young children. That can include working with parents and children to eliminate harmful habits such as pacifier use and thumb sucking.
“A pediatric orthodontist focuses on the growth and development of the teeth and jaw.”
When to See a Pediatric Orthodontist
It is recommended that children see a pediatric orthodontist by the age of seven. However, children as young as two can be candidates for early orthodontic intervention. Good candidates for early treatment include children who have:
- Crowded front teeth
- Jaws that click or grind during movement
- Lost baby teeth early
- Teeth spaced too far apart
- Trouble biting correctly
- Trouble breathing properly
Early treatment prevents a developing problem from worsening and guides face and jawbones to grow, ensuring enough space for permanent teeth. A pediatric orthodontist may recommend a fixed or removable dental appliance such as kids’ braces to help promote jaw growth, hold space for adult teeth, or keep the teeth from moving into the wrong spot. A pediatric orthodontic plan will consider the patient’s growth and development and get tailored to the individual.
“It is recommended that children see a pediatric orthodontist by the age of seven.”
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What to Expect During an Appointment
An initial pediatric orthodontist appointment will be more informational. Depending on the child's age, the parent or guardian may have to answer questions about any harmful habits the child may have and additional questions about overall health and wellness. In addition, a full oral exam will be conducted to look at the position of the child’s teeth and jaws and to see how the bite comes together. Photos and X-rays often get taken as well.
A kids’ orthodontist will then develop a treatment plan. If an appliance is needed, an impression will get taken of the child’s teeth. A follow-up appointment will be required to place the device in the mouth. Future visits will involve checking on the progress of the teeth and making any necessary adjustments.
“An initial pediatric orthodontist appointment will be more informational in nature.”
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Pediatric Orthodontics and Overall Oral Health
Pediatric orthodontists can be an integral part of a child’s overall oral health care. Properly aligned teeth and jaws are easier to brush and floss. That reduces the child’s overall risk for tooth decay. Teeth that fit together properly are also less likely to be fractured or damaged during falls or injuries.
A pediatric orthodontist does not take the place of regular visits to the general dentist. Visits to the dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and checkups will help identify any problems early so they can be treated sooner. They are also a child’s best source for preventative dental care, such as fluoride treatments and dental sealants. The general dentist and pediatric orthodontist will work together to ensure treatment plans are getting followed and the child has optimal dental health.
“Pediatric orthodontists can be an integral part of a child’s overall oral health care.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can my child see a pediatric orthodontist when they still have baby teeth?
A. Yes, a child who still has their baby teeth can still receive orthodontic treatment. Some problems are significant enough to need early intervention. If a child is not ready for treatment, a pediatric orthodontist can continue to monitor their growth and development.
Q. What will I learn from the initial exam?
A. Parents or guardians will learn if their child has an orthodontic problem and what needs to be done to correct it. They will learn about treatment time and follow-up care. Our staff will help each patient, and their family, be comfortable with any treatment plan before moving forward.
Q. How long will my child need to wear braces?
A. Treatment time varies from patient to patient. It can take anywhere from six to 30 months. However, standard treatment time usually runs between 20 to 24 months.
Q. What are some early signs that my child needs orthodontic treatment?
A. If you notice that your child has crowded or overlapping teeth, gaps between their teeth, or jaw misalignment, it may be time for an orthodontic evaluation. Often, the general dentist will notice issues that require orthodontic intervention during a check-up. That is why it is vital to maintain your child’s oral health with regular dental visits.
Q. Do all children need early orthodontic treatment?
A. All children do not need pediatric orthodontic treatment. Many children can wait until all their baby teeth have fallen out. However, children need to be evaluated by a pediatric orthodontist by the age of seven.
Quality Orthodontic Services Can Transform Smiles
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need.
Definition of Orthodontic Terminology
Learn More About Pediatric Orthodontics
Pediatric orthodontics is designed to identify problems early and help improve your child’s long-term oral health. Our staff will make sure both you and your child fully understand the treatment plan and feel comfortable. Call Richard R. Gallagher DDS MSD MSE PhD Inc. at (408) 500-0810 to schedule an appointment.
If you live in the Gilroy area, call 408-500-0810 for an appointment in our Gilroy office.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Terms. 2021
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