In his/her early years, your child’s physical attributes will go through significant changes. One of the more prominent change would definitely be their teeth.
Dental issues might cause them a lot of pain and agony, but there are definitely ways to keep them under control.
Dr Elaine Tan, an experienced orthodontist from Singapore's National Dental Centre, has had plenty of experience with painful orthodontic problems and dental abnormalities in children.
She was featured on DxD Sessions and shed some light on concerns regarding early braces treatment in children. Here are some key takeaways.
Early braces treatment can prevent future abnormalities
If you're wondering why your dentist is proposing an orthodontic treatment for your 7-year-old, you are not alone! A lot of parents are under the impression that braces should only be done when all their adult teeth are in place.
Dr Elaine explains that while it's true that full braces treatment are recommended when kids have their adult teeth present, there are a few exceptions.
When is interceptive orthodontic treatment recommended?
Children who have:
- Impacted tooth/teeth - teeth that is obstructed from growing out properly
- Bite problems - when your child's teeth are not biting in the correct position
- Abnormal jaw growth - a small lower jaw may cause the upper teeth to stick out, making them more prone to injury.
Refered to as interceptive orthodontic treatment, these are some of the conditions that require early management to prevent future problems from developing.
The treatment usually has a shorter duration. It's focused on treating the 'urgent' problem before complex braces treatment is carried at a later stage when adult teeth have all erupted.
Braces treatment cost around $3,500 to $4,800 at National Dental Centre
To give you a reference, outine braces treatment for patients in permanent dentition, costs can range from $3,500 to $4,800. Note: this doesn't include extraction of teeth.
However, prices vary at different clinics in Singapore. It's best to bring your child in for a consultation with an orthodontist so that they can better advise you on the treatment plan with an estimated cost.
Sorry, Medisave doesn't cover braces treatment
Braces treatment is an elective procedure, so you won't be able to use your Medisave to pay for it.
Don't worry, messy teeth in children usually don't last forever
If your child's adult teeth is currently, and they have a row of teeth that look like the top of a chess set, don't panic just yet!
The mess is attributed to both the baby teeth and adult teeth being present, so it's perfectly normal for him/her to have messy teeth during this transition period.
But, straight adult teeth formation depends on several factors
You can't relax just yet! A straight formation of teeth depends on some crucial factors:
- How much space is available for adult teeth?
- How slow does the baby teeth drop out in time for the adult teeth to occupy its space?
- Is the adult tooth growing out of the correct location?
It's important to monitor and observe the changes.
Get an orthodontist's assessment to be sure
Good news, not all teeth and jaw mal-alignment requires treatment. Braces treatment is an elective procedure, so the choice is ultimately up to the parents and child.
There are different levels of severity with regards to abnormal teeth formation. Your orthodontist will assess the severity of the condition and suggest appropriate measures.
Braces can be pretty painful initially
Unfortunately, pain and discomfort after braces treatment is unavoidable. However, the severity of it depends on the child and their pain thresholds.
Surprisingly, Dr Elaine stated that children are generally more adaptable to pain compared to adults!
If the pain is unbearable, mild painkillers like Panadol might be prescribed. In any case, modern technology has made braces more advanced and less uncomfortable. (yay!)
Avoid chewing hard food right after getting braces
Dr Elaine advised parents that children who just had their braces put in place can usually continue with their normal diets. However, they should avoid chewing hard food like nuts, crabs, or ice cubes as these may cause the braces to come off from the teeth.
A soft diet like porridge, soup, tofu, or eggs is recomended for the a first couple of days as their teeth tend to be more sore.
Don't let braces keep your child from sports
Wearing braces shouldn’t stop your children from playing sports, so don't stop them!
Just remember to get some sports guard for your child to protect his/her teeth from any potential impact from balls, bats, or rackets!
It isn't just crooked teeth you should be worried about
Abnormalities can lead to a whole bunch of other problems in the future. Early management is important for a few reasons:
- It helps in an eruption of permanent teeth that may be stuck in the alveolar bone
- It improves growth direction of upper or lower jaws for patients with jaw growth disharmony
- It improves bite and prevents future/further damage to permanent teeth
- It reduces the risk of damage to prominent front teeth
- It eradicates bad habits like finger sucking
Healthy teeth = Happy children!
A set of healthy teeth is really important to your child's overall health. Take Dr Elaine’s advice and visit the dentist at least once a year to ascertain if everything is on track.
Also read: Your Child's First Dental Visit in Singapore
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