Like any concerned parent, you want to ensure your children receive the best health and dental care available. With this in mind, they begin seeing the family physician and dentist at an early age to attend to any immediate concerns and take preventive measures to avoid future problems. But when should your children pay their first visit to a certified orthodontic specialist? How important is correcting their bite at an early age? Will future orthodontic treatment be inevitable?
When should my child first visit an orthodontic specialist?
The American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association both suggest children be seen no later than seven years of age for their first orthodontic evaluation. By then, the permanent front and first molar teeth have begun to appear in the mouth while the remaining permanent teeth will show noticeable development within the jaw bones. This assessment may reveal the need for early interceptive care, future comprehensive orthodontic care, or no treatment at all!
What are the telltale signs of an orthodontic problem?
The most noticeable sign will be the presence of crowded or overlapping teeth. Additional signs may be difficulty chewing, early or late loss of primary teeth, finger sucking, an unusual swallow habit, a shift of the jaw when biting or an unusual growth relationship between the upper and lower jaws.
What types of treatment might the orthodontic specialist suggest?
Every child has unique concerns and conditions involving facial growth and bite relationships. As such, orthodontic specialists should provide each child with both a short and long-term treatment plan tailored to the patient’s specific needs. At an early age, the plan may consist of interceptive treatment to help guide jaw growth, improve the bite, eliminate finger sucking or swallow habits and provide a better environment to encourage the development of permanent teeth into their proper positions. This plan may also entail monitoring the growth and development of the teeth and jaws without the need for interceptive care at an early age. As the child grows, the need for a more comprehensive treatment may be required.
Why not wait until all of my child’s permanent teeth are present before visiting an orthodontic specialist?
Just as a visit to the family physician early in life can minimize or prevent the need for future treatment, an early visit to an orthodontic specialist can provide insights for the patient and parent regarding the need for interceptive or future orthodontic care. This is particularly important in a young child when the majority of their facial and dental development is occurring. If these problems are left until active growth has slowed or stopped, more invasive orthodontic treatment, and possible surgical corrections, could be the only option. An ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure!
By working together with a highly trained orthodontic specialist you can obtain the common goal we all have for our children… a beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime.
At Team Orthodontics, we have numerous options, products, and techniques that shorten and enhance our patient’s experience with orthodontic dentistry.
Schedule your free consultation today and join our family at Team Orthodontics.