Orthodontic treatment to properly align children’s teeth is an important part of safeguarding their oral health. Crooked, crowded or gapped teeth can lead to a variety of problems if left untreated, including tooth decay, gum disease, irregular wear, and jaw joint issues.

Fortunately, there are a variety of effective and innovative orthodontic solutions available to straighten children’s smiles. This article provides an overview of when children should see an orthodontist, common alignment issues, types of orthodontic treatments, and how to care for appliances.

When Should Children See an Orthodontist?

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this screening, the orthodontist will assess whether the child’s teeth are developing properly and if there are any early signs of alignment issues. While some problems may not require treatment until the permanent teeth erupt in early adolescence, others can benefit from early intervention.

Some things the orthodontist looks for at this age include crooked or crowded teeth, teeth that do not meet properly when biting, extra or missing teeth, and other bite irregularities like over-bites or under-bites. Early treatment with orthodontic appliances may be recommended between ages 8-10 to correct issues and avoid the need for tooth extraction or oral surgery later in life.

Comprehensive orthodontic treatment usually occurs between ages 11-14, when all the permanent teeth have erupted. However, scheduling a screening at age 7 allows time for phased treatment if necessary. Parents who notice dental alignment issues in younger children should request an early orthodontic assessment to prevent potential oral health complications later down the road.

Common Orthodontic Issues in Children

Some of the most common orthodontic problems seen in children that may require treatment include:

Crowding: When there is insufficient space in the jaw for all the permanent teeth to erupt properly, crowding occurs. The teeth come in crooked, overlapping, and rotated.

Cross Bites: When the upper and lower jaws shift out of alignment, one or more upper teeth may end up biting inside the lower teeth instead of flush against them.

Overbites: Also called a deep bite, this is when the upper front teeth heavily overlap the lower front teeth.

Under-bites: When the lower jaw protrudes forward beyond the upper jaw, causing the lower front teeth to extend out past the uppers.

Gaps Between Teeth: Excessive spacing between teeth, sometimes caused by missing teeth or a mismatch in jaw sizes.

Impacted Teeth: Teeth, often the canines or wisdom teeth, that get stuck below the gum line and fail to properly erupt into place.

Orthodontic Solutions for Children

There are several effective types of orthodontic appliances that gently straighten children’s teeth over time:

Metal Braces: The most common, traditional orthodontic method uses brackets that are bonded to each tooth and connected with a metal wire that tightens periodically. Tiny colourful elastic bands can be placed to add personal flair.

Clear Aligner Trays (Invisalign): Custom thin, removable plastic trays are worn sequentially to gradually shift teeth position. Popular brands like Invisalign offer computer imaging technology to model the straightening process and design the aligner trays accordingly. This option is far more discreet than braces, having become very popular in recent years. New trays will require additional appointments on an ongoing basis as your teeth continue to shift into alignment.

Lingual Braces: Brackets and wires are bonded to the backside of the teeth, so they are hidden from view. This method is less visible, but can impact speech and are not as comfortable as the Aligner Trays.

Some bite issues may also require the use of headgear, which is worn outside the mouth and attaches to braces via a wire and strap apparatus. Headgear helps gently guide the teeth and jaw into proper alignment, but is typically used in a smaller percentage of cases for drastic adjustments.

Caring for Children’s Orthodontics

To help orthodontic appliances work properly, good oral hygiene and appliance care is a must:

  • Brush carefully after each meal and floss daily to avoid food getting stuck in braces.
  • Avoid sticky, hard, crunchy, and chewy foods that could damage braces.
  • Use orthodontic wax to coat any braces that are poking and causing mouth sores.
  • See the orthodontist promptly if anything breaks, loosens, or shifts out of place.
  • Remove and clean clear aligner trays as directed; track wearing time as prescribed.
  • Use proper home care techniques your Oshawa Orthodontist recommends for optimal results.

The Benefits of Invisalign Treatment

Particularly for pre-teens and teens who want a subtle option for orthodontic correction, Invisalign clear aligners offer many benefits:

  • The aligners are nearly invisible, so many people will not even notice treatment in progress.
  • They are removable for cleaning and eating, providing more comfortable freedom.
  • There are no brackets or wires to irritate the mouth, minimizing any potential discomfort.
  • Treatment time may be faster than traditional braces.
  • Daily routines and activities are less disrupted, without as many adjustments needed.

With Invisalign, these aligners provide an effective path to a straighter smile.

Next Steps with KR Dental

As your Oshawa orthodontists, our team at KR Dental is experienced in all forms of teeth straightening solutions for children. We take pride in crafting personalized treatment plans based on each child’s specific orthodontic needs.

We recognize that every smile is unique—our pediatric specialists will monitor the progress of your child’s teeth alignment and make adjustments as needed. With child-friendly offices, payment plans, and advanced techniques, we make the orthodontic process smooth for children of all ages. To learn more about your child’s options for achieving a healthy aligned smile, schedule a consultation today!

Connect with Our Team ►