Unless you notice that your child is experiencing an orthodontic problem sooner, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontist once they reach the age of 7. By the time your child turns 7, enough permanent teeth have erupted for an orthodontist to decide if orthodontic treatment is necessary and, if so, which treatment options would provide the best results. There are numerous reasons your 7-year-old should see an orthodontist, 10 of the top reasons are listed below. At Docbraces, we know the importance of early intervention which is why we offer complimentary orthodontic screenings at all of our Maritime practices.
1. An orthodontic screening can detect current and future problems.
During the initial orthodontist visit, your child will receive an orthodontic screening to determine if there are any issues that need to be addressed sooner, rather than later. The orthodontic screening process includes an examination of your child’s jaws and teeth. In addition, the orthodontist will want to inspect his or her bite pattern. Once the screening is complete, your child’s orthodontist will discuss any issues of concern with you. If there are current issues that need to be addressed, potential treatments will be discussed; otherwise, observational visits will most likely be recommended.
Whether your little one requires two-phase treatment or just needs to be observed, early visits with an orthodontist will help guide your child down the path to maintaining a healthy, vibrant smile for life.
This is one of the most important reasons your 7-year-old should see an orthodontist. If an issue is discovered during your child’s orthodontic screening, treatment may be able to begin right away. During this time, the jaws and teeth can be guided easily; thus, preventing more complex orthodontic issues in the future. This type of intervention is referred to as two-phase treatment.
The two-phase treatment:
- The first-phase addresses issues related to the jaws and the second-phase is geared toward redirecting the teeth with Invisalign or braces, followed by the use of a retainer to maintain the results.
3. An orthodontist can identify and address bad habits affecting the teeth, and mouth.
Self-soothing habits such as tongue-thrusting and thumb-sucking negatively affect your child’s mouth, and teeth. Other issues that can wreak havoc on the structure of your child’s mouth and teeth include prolonged bottle, and/or dummy use, mouth breathing as well as teeth grinding. An early visit to the orthodontist can help prevent these habits from escalating. If left untreated, jaw surgery and/or future extractions may be necessary.
4. To check your child’s jaw alignment.
If your child has a misaligned jaw, numerous problems can result: By proactively seeking orthodontic treatment for your 7-year-old, this issue can be addressed while the teeth and jaws are still actively growing.
By addressing this problem early on, your child will not need to undergo the more complicated procedure that is used to correct a misaligned jaw when it is left untreated until the active growing phase is complete.
5. To improve your child’s confidence level.
This is another extremely important reason for your 7-year-old to see an orthodontist. An imbalanced jaw, crowded and crooked teeth or spaces between the teeth can negatively affect a child’s confidence level, especially during his or her formative years. Sadly, a child may avoid smiling or even stop speaking in an attempt to detract attention away from his or her mouth. Seeking treatment early-on may result in the implementation of the two-phase treatment plan, which will help your child’s confidence level as he or she notices the positive changes underway.
The two-phase treatment is used when development or function issues are present; however, it offers some cosmetic benefits as well.
6. To determine if there are missing teeth or extra teeth beneath the gumline.
At your child’s first orthodontic visit, x-rays are taken. The orthodontist uses these x-rays to determine if your child has any extra teeth or if any permanent teeth are missing. In addition, these images are used to make sure that your child’s teeth are erupting and falling out according to the Canada Dental Association’s dental development chart.
Extra teeth are referred to as supernumerary teeth. While these supernumerary teeth are usually extracted, if alignment or eruption issues result, your child may be a good candidate for the two-phase treatment plan.
7. To recognize and treat issues related to permanent teeth early on.
By the time your child turns 7, he or she has most likely reached several important dental milestones. The first permanent molars have probably erupted behind the baby teeth. In addition, the primary front teeth have been replaced with permanent incisors. These incisors are substantially larger than the primary teeth that they replaced; therefore, many children have some crooked teeth due to a bit of crowding at this stage.
If the permanent incisors do not come in as expected, an extra tooth/teeth may be blocking them. Detecting and addressing this issue at an early stage is crucial; otherwise, impaction of the unerupted teeth may result.
X-rays allow the orthodontist to see the teeth that have yet to erupt: If it seems that the unerupted teeth do not have any room or that they will erupt at abnormal angles, a treatment plan will be created to guide them into place. By guiding these teeth, the likelihood of extraction due to overcrowding decreases. Furthermore, during the second-phase of treatment, braces or Invisalign can be used to create a stable bite and healthy, beautiful smile.
9. To help determine if your child has a medical disorder called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a serious medical disorder, which is why this may be one of the most important reasons your 7-year-old should see an orthodontist. When an individual has this disorder, breathing stops and restarts continuously while he or she is asleep. Children with sleep apnea may snore and gasp for air, wake up feeling tired, have trouble staying awake throughout the day and/or wet the bed.
Small, constricted jaws can cause sleep apnea:
- Sometimes, sleep apnea occurs when a child has small, constricted jaws. Working with a sleep specialist and an ear, nose, and throat specialist, an orthodontist can expand the upper jaw to increase the amount of air flowing through the nasal airway; thus, improving the child’s ability to breathe properly during sleep.
10. Following your child’s complimentary visit, if necessary, a cost-effective treatment plan can be created.
Since treatment plans vary, so do costs. Once your child’s complimentary initial orthodontic visit is complete, if treatment is necessary, the orthodontist will be able to give you an idea as to what treatment will serve your child the best. By knowing what your child’s orthodontic options are, you can begin planning for his or her future dental care.
Docbraces: A Step Above the Rest
At Docbraces, we continuously strive to be a step above the rest. To accomplish this, we offer our patients T-Link online portals, state-of-the-art-facilities, innovative treatment plans, flexible hours, incentive programs, family discounts, complimentary consultations (including second opinions) and interest-free payment plans.
If your child is 7 years old, it is time for his or her orthodontic evaluation: Contact Docbraces today to schedule a complimentary orthodontic screening with an expert orthodontist at one of our Maritime practices. We have offices located in Charlottetown, Halifax, Moncton, Dartmouth, Truro, Summerside, London, Ottawa and Amherst.