Children should visit an orthodontist to promote a healthy, functional “bite” with proper teeth and jaw alignment starting from a young age. The right age for your child to start seeing an orthodontist depends on their individual circumstances, but the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that you take them for their first visit by the age of seven.
By seven years old, your child will likely have some adult teeth grown in among their baby teeth, allowing an orthodontist to evaluate and diagnose any potential issues before they become more serious problems.
Why Is Early Orthodontic Care Important for My Child?
It’s important for children to see an orthodontist so any potential tooth and jaw problems can be addressed as soon as possible and with the least intervention possible. Depending on the issue, early detection can prevent the need for surgery or shorten the duration needed for braces or other oral appliances. It can also benefit your child’s overall health as they grow up, as straighter teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.
Early orthodontic care for your child can:
- Help their teeth grow in straight
- Promote healthy upper and lower dental arch widths
- Correct a crossbite, overbite or underbite
- Prevent overcrowded teeth
- Prevent the need for tooth extractions when they’re older
- Improve minor speech problems associated with teeth and jaw alignment or thumb sucking
What Are Some Signs My Child Should Visit an Orthodontist?
It can be difficult to know when it’s time to take your child in for orthodontic care. Although the AAO recommends seeing an orthodontist by age seven, you may want to bring your child for a visit sooner if you notice one or more of the following:
- Early loss of baby teeth
- Late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulties chewing food
- Mouth breathing (difficulties breathing through their nose)
- Thumb sucking
- Crowded or crooked teeth
- Gaps in the teeth
- Disproportionately sized teeth or jaws
- A popping sound in the jaw
In some cases, your child’s dentist may notice these issues and let you know it’s time to see an orthodontist. However, it’s vital to keep an eye out for these as a parent in case a dentist does not catch them.
Special Considerations for Child Orthodontic Patients
We understand that getting braces and other orthodontic care might be difficult for your little one. It may involve giving up certain sweets and sugary drinks until the issue is resolved, or they may be concerned about getting teased if they get braces. We can help ease you and your child’s concerns by reviewing all of the benefits of treatment and the various options for braces that are much less noticeable than older styles. Helping your child feel involved and educated can make a world of difference when it comes to orthodontic care.
Orthodontic Care for Children at Lozman Orthodontics
Bringing your child in for orthodontic care can help them have a healthier, more pleasing smile and bite while preventing the need for more intensive interventions down the line.
To learn more about orthodontics for children, contact Lozman Orthodontics. We are a father-daughter team of orthodontists who can advise you on the best treatment options for your child. At our kid-friendly office, we make every effort to provide a positive experience and keep you and your child smiling.