For parents, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. For children, not always so much. Back to school means an end to uninterrupted leisure time, but also, the return to daily peer interactions, and for some children, that’s a real stressor.

There are many reasons that children may dread returning to school and encountering their peers for whole days at a time. 

One reason may be the way they look. Children can be heartless about each other’s physical appearance. 

Another reason could be that they feel fatigued when they awake and can’t think straight from a poor night’s sleep. School can reveal and accentuate that problem. It can lead to low self-esteem and a host of other emotional problems, not to mention long-term physical consequences.

Both problems may be solved by visiting an orthodontist.

Children with overbites and underbites, with misaligned teeth and adult teeth popping sideways through their gums are all subject to taunting from their peers. Back-to-school time brings all that to the fore.

It’s a good idea to bring your children to the orthodontist just before they enter school. You might be surprised to know that children as young as seven may benefit from braces. 

At that time, we evaluate the child to determine if the teeth, jaws, and facial structures have any issues that need to be addressed while the child is developing. The goal of early intervention treatment is to ensure the foundation for straight teeth and a beautiful smile is developing correctly.

Rest assured, we take a conservative approach to treating young children, only addressing issues that take advantage of that early growth or those that can cause long-term problems if left untreated.

Sleep and Breathing Issues

Does your child appear to have an attention deficit? The symptoms of sleep apnea look very similar to ADHD, and can be addressed by an orthodontist. Sleep apnea and other obstructed breathing disorders are caused by a narrowing of the airway when sleeping. This causes momentary interruptions in sleep constantly throughout the night and prevents the deep, restful sleep all humans need.

An unstable bite or narrow jaw may be signs that breathing is obstructed. X-rays help us determine what to do next. That might involve simply monitoring the child, referral to an ENT doctor, or orthodontic treatment, including a palatal expander appliance.

Palatal expanders fit inside the roof of the mouth and widen the upper jaw and nasal cavity. The seam of the palate in younger children has yet to fuse, making it easier to expand. Once children reach the age of about 10, the seam hardens into bone.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to orthodontic issues. We treat each individual child with a plan that suits their particular needs. Back-to-school is a great time for parents to bring their children in to avoid long-term issues like misaligned teeth and breathing disorders.

You want your children to smile – a nice, straight, bright smile.