Our office, along with the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontists and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommends every child see an orthodontist by age seven! That doesn’t mean your child will need braces that young – but if treatment is called for, it’s important not to wait.
These appointments are essential to screen for potential issues during the growth phase, and there are many reasons why you should not skip them. First, the initial consultation is F-R-E-E, and in the best case you will be reassured your child’s bite is on the right track. This first visit is a great time to get to know your child and to introduce them to our office. In most cases we are able to bypass treatment at this time and monitor your child as they grow and develop. If we do determine treatment is needed, the interceptive treatment may save you time and money in the long run. More important, we will be able to catch severe problems before it’s too late!
By age seven, your child is mature enough that we can identify structural and developmental issues but still young enough for us to correct them at the optimal time. Once the mouth has grown to maturity, some treatments, especially relating to jaw development, can be difficult and painful, and may even require surgery. Never fixing these problems could mean a lifetime of dental issues and pain.
Not all dentists refer children this young, but you don’t need a referral to see an orthodontist. The following behaviors are some that indicate your child would benefit from an early visit, but keep in mind there are others only an orthodontist will be able to spot:
- Crowded or misplaced teeth
- Difficulty chewing
- A bite that is too far forward or back
- Breathing through the mouth
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- An unbalanced facial appearance
If immediate treatment isn’t necessary after this initial visit, we will monitor your child’s growth and development for a couple of years before determining if orthodontics is right for your family.
One final comment: Many of the dental and orthodontic conditions that are present in our young patients are passed on via genetics from one or both parents to their children. A common finding is missing teeth, impacted teeth and extra teeth. It is wise to have an early evaluation to screen for these and other conditions.
Thank you and we look forward to creating beautiful, confident smiles for you and your family!