Magazine article Working Mother

Morning: HEALTHY CHILD

Magazine article Working Mother

Morning: HEALTHY CHILD

Article excerpt

Brace Yourself

You've long adored your child's goofy grin. But some of his baby teeth have fallen out and his new pearly whites are popping through a little lopsided. Does he need braces already? It depends, says Sheldon A. Bates, DMD, an orthodontist in Henrico, VA. His toothy tips:

Age matters.

most kids should visit an orthodontist by age 7 to get an assessment for potential dental problems like an extreme under- or overbite. typically, a child is ready for braces when all permanent teeth have erupted through the gums, around age 10.

Big teeth pop early.

it might be an unpleasant idea, but it's sometimes necessary to pull primary teeth if permanent ones are already appearing. opting to leave in baby teeth may cause unhealthy flaring of the front teeth, resulting in potential gum and bone problems in the future.

Maturity counts.

most kids wear braces 18 to 24 months. but patient compliance is key. keeping regular appointments, avoiding braces-busting foods like corn on the cob and consistently wearing a retainer all help to expedite treatment and achieve that goofy, straight-tooth grin.

[Sidebar]

tip Consider visiting an orthodontist early if your young child is being teased about his appearance. …

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