Kids start going to the dentist at an early age, even as young as six months. Cleaning and monitoring of the teeth will take place over the next several years, addressing issues as they arise.
Regardless of whether the erupted teeth are straight or if there don’t appear to be any issues, dentists will often recommend that the child see the orthodontist for the first time by the age of 7 years - a standard set forth by the American Association of Orthodontists.
Early Age Treatment
While they are both in the same general line of oral care, orthodontists may see things that a regular dentist does not since they are trained to approach this care differently. At 7 years old, many baby teeth have fallen out to make way for permanent front teeth as well as adult molars. And it is the perfect time for an orthodontist to do an evaluation.
With an early visit to the orthodontist, your child’s bite can be examined as well as any issues that may be happening within the mouth, such as crowding or delayed tooth eruption. All of these things may cause issues for the child later down the road, but can be rectified if addressed early.
Many parents think that a trip to the orthodontist means braces for their 7-year-old - and delay making that appointment. But, that is not usually the case. Rather, this gives the orthodontist a chance to evaluate any issues that may be present and address them before they get out of hand or cause more dental woes.
Follow-up appointments as your child ages and grows is when your orthodontist will re-evaluate any treatment plans and potentially the need for braces.
Signs Your Child Should See an Orthodontist
Although it is your child’s dentist who should refer you to an orthodontist, there are a few things that could signal to you, as a parent, that an appointment needs to be made.
Gaps and Spaces
It is not uncommon for people to have naturally occurring gaps or spaces between their teeth. And, even though it may seem harmless, gaps become a problem because food gets stuck between them. Then, bacteria can build up. Over the years, this leads to tooth decay and even gum disease.
An orthodontist will address the best way to correct the spaces between teeth.
Kids have teeth falling out, other teeth coming in, and a lot of shifting going on. As things move about and try to find space to come in, adult teeth may grow crookedly. Having a mouth full of crooked teeth is not only a cosmetic concern that may impact one’s confidence and ability to freely smile, but it can make keeping teeth clean a lot more difficult. The result may be cavities or more serious dental concerns.
Orthodontists will determine when the time is right for braces to correct the crooked teeth, leaving your child with a healthy mouth -- and one with straight adult teeth to be proud enough to smile about.
A Misaligned Bite
Both overbites and underbites can be painful and lead to major dental issues later in life. If caught early, orthodontists can use various treatment options to adjust the bite. Handling misaligned bites are definitely on a case-by-case basis but can involve braces, jaw expanders, or even surgery. Though, the latter is the least common option.
Is Your Child Ready to See an Orthodontist? Contact Dr. Suzanne Stock, Orthodontist, Today!
Whether your child’s dentist has recommended a visit to the orthodontist or you have some concerns about things like gaps or crooked teeth, Dr. Suzanne Stock and her team want to welcome you.
Giving your child’s teeth attention from the orthodontist at an early age can lead to a lifetime of oral health.