When is the Right time to Bring Your Child to the Orthodontist?
First orthodontist visit is very important to young children, especially as their permanent teeth begin to come in around the age of 7. Most people think of pre-teens and teens when they think of orthodontics. However, there are many good reasons why your child should get an orthodontic evaluation much earlier in life. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a check-up with an orthodontic specialist by the age of 7.
Why Your Child Should Have a First Orthodontist Visit by the Age of 7
Visiting an orthodontist early can help identify problems with the jaw and emerging teeth before they become worse. Even though your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there may problems only an orthodontist can detect.
In fact, your orthodontist check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine. However, it could also identify a developing problem or issue that requires monitoring growth and development.
The Benefits of Early Treatment
In some cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that benefits from early treatment. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing. In addition, it can make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
Another benefit of early detection of issues, in some cases, is that the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing. Early treatment sometimes gives your orthodontist the chance to guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth, correct harmful oral habit, improve appearance, guide permanent teeth into a more positive position, and improve the bite.
Giving Kids the Best Start with the First Orthodontist Visit
Through early orthodontic evaluation, you give your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile. Because patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, the orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.
Some kids can’t wait to get their braces, seeing them as a sign that the teen years are coming. Others worry about how they’ll feel or what they’ll look like. In fact, you probably have some questions and concerns of your own about braces.
A Few Good Reasons Kids Need Braces
Kids can need braces for many different reasons such as crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth, and a bad bite or malocclusion. Malocclusion occurs when there is a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws such as an overbite, an underbite, or a crossbite.
Sometimes tooth and jaw problems can be caused by losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking. But most of the time they are inherited. Typically, if someone in your family needed braces, your kids will need them, too.
How Do You Know If Your Child Needs Braces?
Usually, your child’s dentist will be the first person to notice problems during a regular visit and recommend that you see an orthodontist. The orthodontist decides whether your child needs braces and what device is most appropriate for the condition.
While there is no set age for a child’s first orthodontist visit, many orthodontists like to see children for the first time around age 7 when their permanent teeth start coming in. At this age, issues such as uneven bite and overcrowding will become apparent.
Starting the process early doesn’t mean a child will get braces right away. It just means the orthodontist will be able to find problems and decide the best time to start treatment.
What to Expect During the First Orthodontist Visit?
At the first visit, the orthodontist will thoroughly examine your child’s teeth, mouth, and jaw. He or she may ask your child to bite the teeth together. They may also ask questions about whether your child has problems chewing or swallowing or has ever had clicking or popping of the jaw.
The orthodontist may take X-rays of the mouth and teeth to see how the teeth are positioned. In addition, the orthodontist will check to see whether any permanent teeth still need to come in. Dr. Larson will also do a digital model of teeth to view in 3D on the computer or even print out on the 3D printer if needed.
It’s worth the effort and patience it takes to find an orthodontist who will treat your child properly. Straight teeth are more than just attractive — they can help keep your child’s mouth healthy for a lifetime.