Dr. Stephen Robirds believes that your child deserves to receive orthodontic treatment that is both friendly and thorough. Our practice places a strong emphasis on early detection and orthodontic intervention to ensure the health of your child's bite throughout his or her life. Particularly sensitive to the emotional needs of children, Dr. Robirds and his staff provide treatment for young patients in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere where fun is the focus. We offer children the chance to participate actively in their orthodontic treatment whenever possible. Providing colorful o-rings and other fun amenities encourages children to enjoy their trip to the orthodontist and look forward to their next appointment.
A child's first orthodontic screening should usually occur at around age eight. This is an age at which a child is slightly less than halfway through the process of losing his or her baby teeth. The first permanent molars and incisors have already come in. By eight years of age, children have also experienced a significant amount of jaw bone growth. At this stage of a child's development, Dr. Stephen Robirds is often able to predict the development of potential abnormalities in bite and teeth alignment. Eight-year-olds are usually in the midst of or about to begin a rapid growth spurt; thus, a child's developing smile is very responsive to orthodontic intervention at this age. Gentle, cost-effective treatments such as space maintainers and other removable appliances can decrease or possibly eliminate the need for comprehensive orthodontic treatment later in life.
Interceptive orthodontics refers to a variety of methods for correcting and preventing cross bites, teeth crowding, abnormalities in jaw alignment that could lead to the development of TMJ disorder, and other potential teeth and mouth problems. Children in the process of losing their baby teeth are usually going through an overall growth spurt. Because a child's jaw and permanent teeth are also rapidly developing, this is the time when gentle, conservative orthodontic treatments have the greatest effect. Beginning interceptive orthodontic treatment at an early age often can save children discomfort and parents expense.
Space Maintainers - Preventing Teeth Crowding
A space maintainer is usually recommended for a child who has lost a baby tooth earlier than expected. Any time there is an open space in a person's smile, there is a tendency for the surrounding teeth to shift. Neighboring baby teeth can actually block the healthy eruption of permanent teeth when they fill in the space left by a lost tooth. In most children, a permanent tooth begins to come in soon after a baby tooth is lost. Space maintainers serve as place holders for permanent teeth when there is a delay between the loss of baby teeth and the emergence of permanent teeth.
A cross bite is a misalignment between the upper teeth and the lower teeth. A cross bite is usually caused by genetics, but can also be a problem for persistent thumb-suckers. If left untreated, a cross bite can hinder proper jaw development. It may also wear down teeth more quickly over time. Fortunately, a cross bite is easily corrected in early childhood through the use of an expander to widen the upper jaw. The expander is fitted to the upper teeth. The patient undergoing treatment gradually tightens the expander appliance over time by turning a special key. While tightening of the expander, the patient may experience a mild sensation of tooth pressure. Treatment with an orthodontic expander typically lasts for about three months. For optimal bite correction, use of the expander is often paired with orthodontic treatment using dental braces. To schedule a complete orthodontic screening for your child, contact Dr. Stephen Robirds today.
One way to get children excited about their monthly trip to the orthodontist is to make braces fun. O-rings are the part of the braces that connect the arch wire (the part that moves the teeth) to the brackets (the part that bonds to each tooth's surface). O-rings come in all the colors of the rainbow and can also be clear or tooth-colored. O-rings can be mixed and matched. Patients can have up to three different colors on their braces at any one time. O-rings are switched out during a patient's monthly orthodontic adjustment.