By Kate Ranta on Aug 28, 2014 @ 09:00 AM
It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is as true of orthodontics as it is anything else. More and more people are electing to take preventive measures in order to keep teeth from becoming crooked in the first place. If you have a child between the ages of seven and nine years of age, here are some things to consider for orthodontia that involve preventive techniques.
What is preventive orthodontics?
Preventive orthodontics involves taking steps to prevent future crowding of the teeth in children. It can involve creating space for permanent teeth to grow in. Or, it can mean taking measures to prevent the upper or lower jaw from moving forward as the child grows. Some common treatments include:
- Space maintainers. These are custom fitted for a child’s mouth, and save space for adult teeth to grow into. Space maintainers are metal bands that are attached to adjoining teeth to keep them from filling an open gap. They are normally used when baby teeth are lost prematurely to prevent them from taking over open space.
- Dental headgear. This consists of wires that stretch over top of the mouth. They are worn for a few hours each day, typically while sleeping. Dental headgear is used to ensure the upper and lower molars are properly aligned when a child finishes growing.
- Tongue cribs. These are somewhat like dentures, and fit over the top of teeth. When used properly, they help keep a child from sucking his or her thumb and eventually developing an overbite.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening by age seven. At this age, possible problems can already be identified. This may help reduce or eliminate the need for extensive orthodontic treatment—giving you and your child something to smile about!