Summers in Santa Barbara, CA are associated with fun in the sun and relaxation. However, Orthodontics of Santa Barbara also suggests summer as the perfect time for children to start orthodontic treatment! The American Association of Orthodontists advises that children receive their first orthodontic evaluation around the age of seven. This is because misalignments are best corrected as early as possible before they become more severe. In addition, children’s mouths are more pliable and responsive to orthodontic treatment, which makes it easier for them. Here, Orthodontics of Santa Barbara will explain why we think summer is the best time to invest in your child’s oral health!
Orthodontic treatment is typically not the first thing that comes to people’s minds when summer is mentioned. However, many aspects of summer make it an ideal time to begin treatment. Here are the top five reasons we consider summer a prime time to start children’s orthodontic treatment in Santa Barbara:
The flexibility of summer allows children more appointment time choices. School, extracurricular activities, and sports are just a few of the things that can create hectic schedules. Even if children participate in some summer activities, their schedule is typically more flexible, and orthodontic appointments can be scheduled quickly. It is also essential to remember that starting orthodontic treatment takes time.
First, Orthodontics of Santa Barbara will assess your child’s orthodontic needs before suggesting a treatment plan. Then, we will set up an appointment to begin orthodontic treatment. Scheduling these lengthier initial orthodontic appointments in the summer means children will not have to miss school or risk falling behind on their work. However, once orthodontic treatment has begun and only periodic adjustments are needed, these appointments will be shorter and fit better into their school schedules.
Adjusting to orthodontic appliances is a process. At first, braces or aligners may feel foreign and cumbersome. If palatal expanders are needed, this can increase the time it takes to get used to the new dental wear. Children that are out for the summer have more time to acclimate to orthodontics and go to regular appointments. When it is time for school, they will know more about what to expect and how the process works.
Even children who receive removable aligners will benefit from an adjustment period. For example, clear aligners must be worn around 22 hours daily, or a patient can jeopardize progress. Children may be tempted to take them in and out of their mouths or may even lose them. Having them at home during the summer where parents can keep a watchful eye and ensure they are keeping up with their aligners and wearing them for the allotted time can help them adjust before returning to school.
New orthodontic wear can initially cause some pain and discomfort. Being at home during the summer allows children to get used to their new dental wear on their terms. Instead of being distracted at school, in pain, or trying to keep up with any over-the-counter medications, they can sit back and relax while engaging in their favorite hobbies. During this time, they may also need soft foods or nutritious smoothies until the soreness subsides and they can consume food easily.
However, children at school may not have this luxury and have a more challenging time managing pain and discomfort. The good news is that modern orthodontics is increasingly improving dental wear, and while our mouths still have to adjust, it is easier to do so. Orthodontics of Santa Barbara in California is happy to recommend what you can do to minimize pain and discomfort during this initial adjustment period.
Children with clear aligners can take them out of their mouths and eat normally. However, it is often not this simple when braces, expanders, or other dental appliances are involved. Eating hard, chewy, or sticky foods can damage or break brackets and wires, causing an uncomfortable situation. Orthodontics requires changing eating habits, and children must consume softer foods and avoid sugar-filled beverages. It is also often helpful to cut their food into smaller, more manageable pieces.
However, children who receive orthodontics in the middle of the school year may have issues adapting to these dietary changes. Eating something they know they should not or sneaking a piece of candy at lunchtime may be tempting. Being home for the summer helps parents keep a careful eye on what they are consuming while educating them on what to eat, what to avoid, and why. This helps set them up for greater success when they enter the new school year.
Orthodontics can make oral care a bit more challenging. For example, clear aligners need to be cleaned thoroughly. Braces also complicate oral hygiene since food can quickly become stuck between teeth. It can also be more difficult to floss with braces, especially if a palatal expander is involved. During the summertime, children have time to learn how to care for their new orthodontic appliances correctly and without taking oral hygiene shortcuts. Parents also have time to help them learn more effective ways of brushing and flossing with orthodontics.
Whereas new routines can be more easily established during the summer, a busy school day and jam-packed schedules may make it tempting for children to skip brushing or flossing. However, neglecting oral hygiene can cause dental decay and delay orthodontic progress.
The American Association of Orthodontists and Orthodontics of Santa Barbara highly recommend evaluating your child’s orthodontic needs around the age of seven. The earlier misalignments can be treated, the better. In addition, we recommend using Santa Barbara summers to begin your child’s orthodontic treatment! Summer schedules are more flexible, and children have time to adjust, can manage pain or discomfort at home, make dietary changes, and learn to keep their dental wear clean. The flexibility that summer offers makes it a prime time to correct crooked teeth!
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