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Your child will be seen before he/she has teeth. The orthodontist will evaluate how your child’s upper and lower jaw fit together. When your child’s teeth begin to come in, the pediatric dentist can work with you to make sure you and your child know how to properly care for your child’s teeth, including cleaning and good nutrition. Cleft lip/palate can impact your child’s teeth in many ways including the number, size, shape and position of primary (baby) teeth during toddler years and also of the permanent teeth that come in afterwards. If your child needs help beyond cleaning, the pediatric dentist can help in making sure that the proper care is done to restore any cavities present. With proper care, your child can have healthy and beautiful teeth. The orthodontist will check the alignment of the baby (or primary) teeth and jaws.
If your child needs orthodontic treatment, it is usually started when he/she is in the mixed dentition, which is around age 7. As your child’s mouth and face continue to grow and develop with age, the orthodontic needs may change. The orthodontist may work with the oral surgeon to plan for special procedures such as bone grafting.
When all of your child’s permanent teeth come in, the orthodontist and the oral surgeon will develop a final care plan which may involve braces, with or without jaw surgery. The orthodontist and the oral surgeon will also help coordinate for the replacement of any missing teeth, which is usually done with dental implants. The ultimate goal is a full and healthy dentition in properly aligned jaws. This will allow your child to have good oral function and a pleasing smile to enjoy for a lifetime.