Orthodontics for Kids and Teens
Occlusion and Malocclusion
Occlusion is the dentistry term used to describe the way the upper and lower teeth meet. Normal occlusion allows the teeth, gums, and jaws to function properly for tasks such as speech, chewing, and breathing. Malocclusion occurs when the teeth do not meet appropriately. Malocclusion can be caused by anything from heredity, trauma, or incorrect development to disease or habits like thumb sucking. If unresolved, malocclusion can impact oral function and facial aesthetics and can contribute to dental diseases, broken or cracked teeth, and tooth decay.
Malocclusion is a broad category for any type of alignment that is not conducive to proper oral function. It is most obvious in conditions including:
- Overbites or underbites
- Improper spacing
- Missing or impacted teeth
- Anterior, or open, bite
Orthodontic treatment uses orthodontic appliances—such as braces, aligners, or retainers—to apply constant, gentle pressure to the teeth, gums, and jaws, shifting them back into proper alignment. Early treatment can help guide the development of your child’s mouth and facial structure, avoiding alignment issues in the future when growth is complete and repositioning the teeth is more challenging.
There is not a perfect age to start orthodontic treatment, but there is an ideal timing that is unique to each child because it depends on the condition of the teeth and jaws at different stages of development. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children have an initial orthodontic exam around age 7. While treatment may not begin at age 7, early intervention allows the orthodontist to identify any current or potential problems in teeth eruption or jaw development and create a prevention plan.
Most patients will begin treatment between the ages of 9 and 16. Treating alignment problems before the face and jaws have stopped growing typically allows for the successful treatment of most conditions before all permanent teeth have erupted.
Orthodontic treatment should be conducted by an orthodontist certified by the AAO. These specialists have the additional training and qualification necessary to diagnose, prevent, and treat facial and dental irregularities. Improperly applied treatment or treatment supervised by anyone other than an orthodontic specialist can end up doing more harm than good for both your child and your wallet.
Orthodontic Treatment Options at Dental Depot DFW
Innovations in orthodontic technology and techniques have improved the ability to truly customize your child’s treatment options, and Dental Depot DFW is proud to offer the latest in orthodontic care.
Traditional Metal Braces
Metal or ceramic braces consist of brackets that are bonded to the teeth, very thin archwires threaded through the brackets, and ligatures or “o-rings” that secure the wires to the brackets. Over several months, the wires are tightened to guide the teeth into position. Ceramic braces are essentially the same, but use tooth-colored “clear” brackets that make them less visible.
Damon brackets are a type of self-ligating braces that uses a passive sliding system instead of rubber bands to hold braces in place and apply gradual pressure, allowing for more flexibility in tooth movement and more precision in alignment.
Invisalign is a system of clear aligners that uses a series of thin plastic trays to shape your child’s teeth. The trays are molded to fit your child’s teeth and gradually adjust in alignment to move the teeth. Although they are removable, they must be worn for at least 22 hours a day to be effective.
Schedule a Consultation
Dental Depot DFW provides comprehensive dental care for the entire family, including orthodontic treatments. In addition to experienced dentists and dental hygienists, our staff of licensed professionals includes AAO-certified orthodontists, prosthodontists, and oral surgeons. This allows us to offer unparalleled quality and continuity of care, from routine cleanings and checkups to braces and restorative procedures, all at one convenient location.
If you are concerned about your child’s oral development, or simply want to receive a baseline exam, schedule a complimentary consultation at any of our four DFW-area locations. We know your family is busy, so we offer flexible scheduling and Saturday appointments. Visit our office locator to find your nearest Dental Depot. dentaldepotdfw.com/find-location