Often when parents bring young children into our office for initial evaluation, they are missing several primary teeth. Parents are worried that starting treatment won’t be an option until all the permanent teeth have grown in, or until all baby teeth have fallen out. It’s common to wonder if your child is losing teeth at the right time, or too slowly, or even too quickly. These concerns are normal, and a reason why it’s good to get your child into the orthodontist starting at age seven. Orthodontist Dr. Brandon Zipper at Zipper Orthodontics can answer all these questions and more and can start any treatment needed early enough to prevent major issues.
When Should Your Child Start to Lose Teeth?
Most children lose their first baby tooth, or primary tooth, around age 6. This is typically the bottom front tooth. The rest of the primary teeth usually follow suit, with the last one falling out around age 12. By age 21, all 32 of the primary teeth should have been replaced by permanent teeth.
Without a doubt, “How long do I have to wear my braces?” is the most common question we’re asked by patients. More so than cleaning tips and food restrictions, people want to know how long they’ll have to live with braces. It’s understandable. Braces are hard to brush and floss around, they come with food restrictions, and they can be a source of embarrassment for teens at school or professionals in the workplace.
While most patients are always eager to start treatment, they are even more eager to get those braces off. Even though each patient is given an estimated treatment time wearing braces when they start, patients always hope we can wave our magic wands and complete the process sooner.
It’s scary to be at home, school, or sports practice and feel a part of your braces loosen or even fall completely off your tooth, but it’s a more common occurrence than you may think.. The good news is that most of these incidents are actually minor and easily fixed by your orthodontist. Here are a few general rules and tips for how to handle these situations in the moment and until you can get into the office for a visit.
Typically, braces emergencies arise when a wire or rubber band falls out of place. These issues are minor and can be easily fixed by your orthodontist. A less common emergency is when a bracket comes loose and falls out. If you can feel a loose bracket that hasn’t fallen out, it’s best to leave it held in by the surrounding wires and call your orthodontist. But, if the bracket has fallen out already, keep it in a safe space and take it with you to the orthodontist. Schedule an appointment as soon as you can to fix this!
Flossing isn’t the most exciting part of your nightly routine, but it’s essential to your oral health. Maintaining that excellent oral health is an integral part of your orthodontic journey! Before we get into how to become an expert braces flosser, here’s some more information about why flossing is so critical in the first place. Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth to prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath. Flossing helps eliminate the accumulation of harmful bacteria and plaque resulting from food particles that get trapped between the teeth and under the gum line. These are places that the toothbrush can’t always reach!
Young children often put anything and everything in their mouths. Unless it develops into bad habits that carry into later childhood, this curiosity is beneficial. Long-term oral health can be negatively affected by habits like nail-biting, thumb sucking, excessive use of pacifiers, and tongue thrusting as you swallow.
Biting your nails is bad for your general and oral health because you’re introducing bacteria and dirt into your mouth. The germs and grime you ingest while biting your nails can cause illness and the consistent biting is hard on your enamel. While it certainly isn’t a good habit to keep up because of the dirt and germs residing under your nails, there are many more negative effects.
Chewing your nails results in unnecessary wear on your teeth. It weakens the enamel and can even lead to chipping or the teeth becoming crooked. When you have braces, chewing your nails slows down orthodontic treatment. In addition to weakening the roots and making the teeth susceptible to movement, biting your nails can also displace brackets and wires. This makes your braces less effective and can result in more appointments to fix appliances or brackets.
Getting braces is a big change, and on top of the wires, brackets, or Invisalign trays, there’s a whole new set of habits you must get used to. Luckily, we’re here to help and answer any questions you may have during treatment! One of our most common questions from patients is “What can I eat with my braces?” or “What foods do I have to give up?” and we have a few simple guidelines to share. If you keep these in mind, your smile and diet will be happy and healthy!