Baby Teeth, Permanent Teeth, and Braces

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Do a child’s baby teeth all need to fall out before getting braces?


Chino Hills/La Habra, CA – When you picture someone in braces, you probably think of a
teenager, right? That’s not always the case – for some, it can be more effective to begin
orthodontic treatment at a younger age.


“Many people mistakenly believe that all of a child’s baby teeth need to fall out and be replaced by the permanent teeth before braces or other treatment can begin,” says Dr. Robert Gire of Gire Orthodontics, a board certified orthodontist in Chino Hills. “That’s just not true. The AmericanAssociation of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist by the age of seven,and that’s because for some, early interceptive treatment will create the best outcome.”


Healthy smile with braces


If you wait until all of your child’s baby teeth fall out before seeking out orthodontic treatment,you might be missing the ideal window for correcting their bite. In some cases we want to take advantage of the child’s growth spurt to modify their jaw growth.


At age seven, most patients probably won’t require orthodontic treatment right away. But, they can begin a relationship with the orthodontist, who can then determine if and when treatment is needed. By monitoring the patients during these transition years when the baby teeth are falling out and being replaced by permanent teeth, Dr. Gire can see how these new teeth will fit in the mouth, monitor jaw growth, and look for any other signs of trouble.


“Waiting until the teenage years when all the permanent teeth are in can actually be a disservice to your child,” says Dr. Gire. “If we wait until then, chances are the majority of jaw growth will have been completed, which can make orthodontic treatment more difficult. For example, we may need to do treatment that is longer, more invasive (sometimes requiring extractions of adult teeth), and in the worst case scenario, surgery. In most cases we can avoid extractions and/or surgery with proper interceptive, Phase I treatment.”


dental cartoon vector, teeth orthodontics


When you were younger, you may have been told that it was best to wait until your baby teeth
had all fallen out before receiving treatment. But times have changed, and studies show that
children often receive their most ideal smile when we utilize a combination of dentofacial orthopedics and orthodontics.


Orthopedics uses fixed (cemented in) or removable appliances to help guide the growth of the jaw. For some patients, this first phase may be all they need. For others, this can be followed up with braces to guide the teeth into their proper locations.


“Early treatment can often provide the best result,” says Dr. Gire. “This is because we can guide jaw growth, allowing the best environment for the permanent teeth to erupt. We often find that if we make space for these teeth before they even come in, the outcome tends to be much more stable in the long run.”


For some children, the last baby tooth isn’t lost until the jaw has ceased growing. So if there is an orthodontic issue, the teeth won’t be moved as easily. If the problem stems from an issue with the jaw growth, surgery is sometimes needed to correct the jaw before orthodontic treatment can guide the teeth.


Gire Orthodontics


Some problems may be able to be corrected with removable appliances only, and for those that
need braces after, treatment can often be as short as a year or less. That means that even though treatment begins at a younger age, it is typically much shorter than if treatment had begun in the teenage years.


If your child is seven or older and hasn’t had a consultation with Dr. Gire at Gire Orthodontics, we recommend you schedule one today. After all, our consultations are completely complimentary and we do take digital x-rays and photographs to show you exactly how the child’s development is progressing. There’s really nothing to lose and everything to gain!

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  1. 1

    My 6 year old is going to need braces. The funny thing is that from looking at her baby teeth, you’d have never guessed she would. Those little chompers were perfect!
    Lucy Mills´s last blog post ..The Art of Blissful Parenting Signed Book Giveaway

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