Backpack, pencils and paper, lunch box, new jacket… is an orthodontic visit also on your child’s “back-to-school” checklist this year? If it’s not and your child is between the ages of five and seven, you may want to add it!
Yes, that’s right – your child doesn’t need to be a pre-teen on the verge of getting braces to benefit from an orthodontist visit. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a checkup with an orthodontic specialist no later than the age of seven. This is true even if your child’s dentist has not identified any early bite issues. Pediatric orthodontists are trained to identify subtle problems that a general dentist might miss, such as issues with jaw growth and emerging teeth, and take early preventative steps to address these issues.
Why does my young child need an orthodontist check-up?
By the age of seven, your child will likely have a mix of adult and baby teeth. Enough of your child’s adult teeth will be in that an orthodontist can identify whether there is a risk of overcrowding, protruding or crooked teeth. Since not all of your child’s adult teeth will be in, however, it will be easier to intervene and address any known issues before they become bigger problems.
As your child grows, unaddressed bite and alignment problems could adversely affect how your child speaks or eats. In addition to causing your child discomfort, these problems could impact your child’s social confidence and academic performance. Early orthodontic treatment will give your child the best opportunity for a healthy, confident smile and may even minimize the need for braces in the future.
What issues will an orthodontic check-up address?
A pediatric orthodontist is trained to identify and address bite and misalignment issues that are commonly found in young children. For example, overcrowding is one of the most common issues that can lead to braces. Interceptive orthodontic treatment, such as guiding the growth of jawbones, can help the teeth come in straight and correctly aligned in the jaw. This early treatment can minimize the need for complex braces treatment in the future.
With interceptive orthodontic treatment, a Maritime orthodontist can do the following:
- Guide the growth of the jaw bones
- Enable correct biting and chewing
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Lower the risk of damage or breakage to protruded front teeth
- Improve appearance by improving the way the lips meet
- Guide permanent teeth into better positions
What should I expect during a pediatric orthodontic visit?
During your child’s visit, our pediatric care team will help your child relax and feel comfortable. Our Maritime orthodontist will check your child’s digital X-rays and conduct a short physical exam of your child’s teeth, jaw and bite alignment. Our orthodontist will then discuss these findings with you and any additional treatment recommendations.
Will my child still need braces?
Depending on your child’s bite alignment and spacing needs, interceptive orthodontic treatment may be able to minimize or, in some cases, even eliminate the need for future braces. Rather than focusing solely on the future potential for braces, however, focus on the immediate benefit to your child. Addressing bite and alignment problems early may reduce the likelihood that your child struggles with speech or chewing impediments. Your child will feel more confident socially and academically, setting the stage for a happy, successful life.
To learn more about the benefits of early orthodontic care, download this free eBook from Docbraces.