As a parent, you are always searching for the best for your child – including their dental health. While straighter, more attractive teeth may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of orthodontic treatment, there are actually many benefits beyond just esthetics, or the way they look.
Lower Risk of Dental Injuries and Emergencies
First and foremost, orthodontic treatment can lower the risk of dental injuries, wear and tear and emergencies. When teeth are properly aligned, there is less chance of them being knocked out or broken due to trauma. This is especially important for active children who may participate in sports or other activities where they could accidentally experience trauma to the facial region. Additionally, when teeth fit together properly, the risk of excessive wear and tear from grinding the teeth (called “bruxism”) or normal function goes way down. This helps preserve the enamel shape and form throughout life.
Maximization of Growth Spurt
Children have a once in a lifetime major growth spurt called in the puberty growth spurt. This is the last major opportunity when the teeth are typically present to experience substantial skeletal maturation. This growth spurt cannot be wasted as once it’s over, it’s over and one of the major ingredients influencing successful orthodontic treatment will be gone. Our orthodontists take the responsibility of using this growth spurt very seriously and use efficient and proven techniques to make sure your child has the best facial and dental outcome possible.
Reduced Chance of TMJ Disorders
Orthodontic treatment can also reduce the chance of developing TMJ disorders. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where the lower jaw pivots with the skull base. This joint can become inflamed or misaligned when the occlusion/bite does not allow the lower jaw to pivot in the skull base with normal pressure. This can lead to discomfort or pain. Misaligned teeth can put unnecessary stress on the TMJ, but orthodontic treatment can help realign and coordinate the bite to prevent or alleviate TMJ issues.
Improved Sleep Quality
Did you know that orthodontic treatment may improve sleep quality? Children with obstructive sleep apnea often have misaligned teeth and jaws, which can cause breathing issues during sleep. In particular, a retrusive lower jaw can put the tongue and floor of the mouth muscles much closer to the airway. As we get older and muscle tone reduces, this airway can shrink or collapse at night leading to disrupted sleep. This can lead to significant health problems. Orthodontic treatment can improve the dimension of the oral cavity and encourage forward development of the lower jaw when timed properly during a child’s growth spurt. This may reduce sleep apnea symptoms or reduce the likelihood of developing it when older.
Healthier Teeth and Gums
Last but not least, orthodontic treatment can lead to healthier teeth and gums. Crowded or misaligned teeth can make it difficult to properly brush and floss, leading to a higher risk of cavities and gum disease. By straightening teeth and aligning the bite, it becomes easier to clean all areas of the mouth and prevent oral health issues.
While straighter teeth may be the initial goal of orthodontic treatment, the benefits extend far beyond esthetics. Orthodontic treatment can have a positive impact on a child’s well-being for years to come. If you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified orthodontists to learn more about the benefits and options available.