Written by Dr. Chaw Su Kyi on October 24, 2017
Is it there any benefit of having brace treatment even though my child still has baby teeth?
We are often asked to carry out an orthodontic consultation for children under the age of ten to assess the development of their teeth. The average age for an orthodontic consultation is around eleven years. Children usually start gaining their first adult tooth around the age of six, and by nine years of age often have all their adult incisor teeth. The majority of cases, we do not start any brace treatment at this time and allow the teeth to naturally develop until all the permanent teeth have erupted.
However, in some cases, early treatment will facilitate the development of teeth by allowing widening of the arch and creating space for the permanent teeth. Some children may have a narrow upper arch (upper jaw), this can be due to a thumb-sucking habit or may be developmental. In these cases, wearing a simple brace to expand or widen the upper jaw can be a highly effective treatment which can reduce the need for complex orthodontic treatment with fixed braces at a later stage.
In some other cases the upper front teeth can ‘stick-out’ further forwards and are protruding. When the upper front teeth are protruding, there is an increased risk of tooth trauma which can result in a broken front tooth. We always recommend a mouth-guard for any contact sport. Also, it has been noted that this appearance may make the child feel slightly self-conscious with their peers.
Having early orthodontic treatment with braces in certain conditions may reduce the need for more complicated fixed brace treatment and sometimes the need for future extractions.
The following patient is a case where the one upper front tooth was ‘sticking-out’ and our patient was quite aware and self-conscious of this tooth. In addition, the amount this tooth was sticking out made it at a higher risk to dental trauma. We fitted fixed braces to straighten the tooth and within 6 months the front teeth had straightened, reducing the risk of dental trauma and improving our patient’s self-confidence.
Photos below showing the teeth before starting early brace treatment. The photos show the protruding upper front incisor tooth. The patient’s adult teeth are only his front incisor teeth and his back molar teeth, the rest are his baby teeth.
Photos showing the teeth during brace treatment with an upper fixed brace. The fixed brace is fitted onto the upper adult incisor teeth and the two back adult molar teeth, all the baby teeth are ‘bypassed’. The protruding incisor tooth has now moved back into the correct position and no longer ‘sticking out’.
The photos below show the patient after orthodontic treatment was completed and the upper fixed brace removed. The upper front teeth are now straight and more importantly, there is no longer a protruding front incisor tooth which was at higher risk of dental trauma. Our patient was extremely happy and looking forward to his forthcoming teenage years with this new smile!!