When Should You Take Your Child to the Orthodontist?

Excellent early orthodontic health is essential to your daughter or son’s future dental and orthodontic development. With proper early orthodontic screening and treatment, you can prevent him or her from developing serious complications or conditions later on in life. Maintaining orthodontic hygiene is important for far more than a nice smile. Dental and orthodontic conditions can disrupt, his or her ability to eat, talk, and future jaw bone development. Most dentists and orthodontists recommend that you take them to their first screening when they reach seven.

Why is early screening and treatment important?

Early care is vital to your child’s jaw bone and tooth development because as their jaw develops it fuses making it harder to shift teeth. During the younger years, the first molars start to erupt allowing the best orthodontist to properly evaluate them for bite, back bite, and tooth relationship to other teeth. By performing early screenings, their practitioner can discover minor problems and prevent them from developing into complicated issues that require intensive treatment.  If care is not necessitated at this time, their orthodontist may monitor the development progress.

Why is earlier better than later?

When your child turns seven, their first few adult molars have begun to erupt. With their adult molars in place, the back bite is established allowing the doctor to examine the rest of the teeth in relation to the molars. Any improper growth may indicate a problem such as overbite, open bite, or crowding.

Starting treatment early ensures:

What are some reasons for early treatment?

It is common practice to begin orthodontic care when all of their permanent teeth have erupted, but depending on the individual, earlier treatment may be beneficial. Some common instances where treatment may be essential include:

  • A need to increase the space for crowded teeth to move
  • To shift the teeth and promote correct jaw growth to balance facial symmetry
  • To create new space for erupting and un-erupted teeth
  • To reduce any cause for potential tooth extraction
  • To reduce present and future treatment time wearing braces

Common childhood orthodontic conditions

Generally, orthodontists treat malocclusions which is a form of a poor bite. An incorrect bite forms from crooked tooth development or jaw development. These are some of the most common childhood orthodontic problems that orthodontists screen for.

  • Underbite
  • Overbite
  • Crossbite that stunts growth and wears teeth down unevenly
  • Crooked molars and canines which can affect chewing
  • Protrusion of the front teeth which may led to chipping
  • Crowding of teeth that can hinder brushing and flossing

What options may be offered

When you take your son or daughter to the orthodontist, his or her orthodontist will screen and run diagnostic tests such as x-rays, bite exams, and inspections to rule out any conditions. If the orthodontist finds a problem in need of intervention, he or she may recommend a braces or active monitoring depending on the severity. Depending on your orthodontist, they may offer different treatment such as metal braces, clear braces, or invisible/hidden braces. Metal or clear braces are excellent at guiding your child’s tooth growth. By placing braces early on, they serve as anchors that prevent complications later in life. These options provide many advantages to your child’s future dental and orthodontic health.

Two Phase treatment

Another common option is to split care into separate phases. This is known as two-phase treatment. The first phase begins when daughter or son is around 7-8. The child’s dentist will screen for potential problems and check for proper tooth positioning, eruption, and bite. The orthodontist will then stop and monitor the teeth until they reach their teens. Once they reach their teen years, the orthodontist will finish treatment. Two-phase treatment does not expedite overall treatment time but may halt serious conditions from progression. It is important to consult with your orthodontist about if you child needs two phase treatment.

Early is best

Early screening and intervention are vital to your child’s dental development. Early treatment is not more complicate and will preserve their teeth. Many orthodontists provide early testing and care. Call and have an orthodontist evaluate your child’s bite to determine if they are candidate for early testing and orthodontic treatment.

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