Important Pediatric Orthodontist Information About Your Baby’s First Teeth
As a new parent, you may not have considered the need for a pediatric orthodontist. On average, babies start getting their first teeth at about six months old, although it can happen much sooner or later. Understanding your baby's teeth helps you teach good oral hygiene habits and know when it may be time to consult an orthodontist.
Understanding a baby's teeth
Baby teeth vary in size and shape, as well as where they are located in the jaw. Most people have 20 baby, or primary, teeth, and 32 permanent teeth. These teeth not only help people to chew, speak, and smile but shape the form of the face.
The primary teeth typically begin to erupt in the mouth at around 6 months old. Although each child is different, most get central incisors on the top and bottom jaw first, followed by lateral incisors, first molars, canines, and second molars. These teeth are then shed, making way for their permanent counterparts between the ages of 6 and 12 years old.
Adults have more teeth than babies but sometimes do not have room in the mouth to accommodate them. As a child grows, a visit to a pediatric orthodontist may be needed to get braces. This treatment helps the teeth to grow straighter and ensures there is no overcrowding. In the mid to late teen years, an orthodontist may recommend a child have the wisdom teeth removed to prevent crowding and misalignment.
What is 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.
Getting an orthodontist's advice
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 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.
A pediatric orthodontist can provide parents with information about how to keep children's teeth straighter and healthier by focusing on several common situations, such as:
Finger-sucking and pacifier habits
According to the American Dental Association, finger-sucking may first begin in the womb and is a completely natural habit for babies who need to self-soothe. However, as babies begin to teethe, the time comes to break the habit. After teething begins, sucking on fingers or pacifiers can cause the teeth to grow misaligned and could even cause changes to the roof of the mouth.
Teething is often an uncomfortable and painful situation for babies and toddlers. An orthodontist helps parents learn more about the process of new teeth erupting, how to help children through it, and when to seek professional care.
As a baby's primary teeth fall out to make way for the eruption of permanent teeth, they may cause misalignment of the permanent teeth. Eventually, misaligned adult teeth can lead to overcrowding that causes problems with dental hygiene, overbites or underbites, pain, or a lack of confidence in smiling. As a child enters the pre-teen years, an orthodontist may recommend braces to keep teeth aligned and create a healthier set of permanent teeth into adulthood.
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.
Book a consultation today
Parents naturally want their children's health to thrive, and oral health is a key component of this. Whether an infant is just beginning the teething process or a preschooler has a full mouth of teeth, a pediatric orthodontist can advise on any alignment issues and recommend any necessary treatments. Visiting a pediatric orthodontist for a consultation prepares patients and parents for their oral health needs going forward. Call our office at (732) 795-6096 to learn more or schedule a consultation visit.
Request an appointment here: https://www.bracesatbrick.com or call Braces at Brick at (732) 795-6096 for an appointment in our Brick Township office.
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