When Should a Child Visit the Orthodontist
A child should visit an orthodontist when there are concerns about their dental development or if they are experiencing any issues with their bite or alignment. Early orthodontic treatment can help prevent more serious problems from developing in the future and can also make later treatment easier and more effective.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. This is because many of the problems that orthodontists treat can become more difficult to correct as the child gets older and their bones stop growing. By evaluating a child’s dental development at an early age, an orthodontist can identify any potential issues and develop a treatment plan that can help guide the growth of the jaws and teeth.
Some of the signs that a child may need to see an orthodontist include:
Crowded or crooked teeth
Overbite or underbite
Difficulty chewing or biting
Thumb-sucking or other oral habits that persist after the age of 5
Early or late loss of baby teeth
Jaw pain or clicking
Grinding or clenching of the teeth
Appearance of teeth not coming in properly
During an initial orthodontic evaluation, the orthodontist will examine the child’s teeth and jaws, take X-rays and photographs, and ask about any symptoms or concerns. Based on this information, the orthodontist can determine if there are any problems that need to be addressed and develop a treatment plan that may involve braces, orthodontic appliances, or other interventions.
In some cases, early treatment may be recommended to guide the growth of the jaws and create more space for permanent teeth. This can help prevent more serious problems from developing later on, such as impacted teeth or a narrow upper jaw that can affect breathing and speech. In other cases, the orthodontist may recommend waiting until more permanent teeth have come in before starting treatment.
Address Orthodontic Issues Early
Overall, it’s important for parents to be proactive about their child’s dental health and to seek the advice of an orthodontist if there are any concerns. By addressing potential problems early on, parents can help ensure that their child’s teeth and jaws develop properly and prevent more serious issues from developing in the future.