When Should Your Child See an Orthodontist?

orthodontist-child-bracesWhen it comes to the health of their children, parents everywhere know there are numerous areas where close attention needs to be paid. One of the most important involves their dental health, which if neglected can have a significant impact on them well into adulthood. For many children, at some point along the way a visit to an orthodontist becomes necessary. However, since each child is different in so many ways, knowing when to have their child pay a visit to the orthodontist can be a difficult decision for parents. However, the good news is that there are certain indicators parents can use to decide an orthodontic visit is needed.

Is My Child Too Young for a Visit?

In most cases, dental health experts recommend a child pay their first visit to an orthodontist at age seven. While some parents feel as if this may be too early, orthodontists advise that even by this young age, a number of dental issues may be starting to occur, and by having these early visits parents can be proactive about solving any potential problems.

Crowding and Spacing

When children start to lose their baby teeth, problems such as crowding or spacing may occur. For example, if adult teeth are coming in at a faster rate than baby teeth are being lost, teeth can become crowded. Or, if the opposite happens and baby teeth are being lost faster than adult teeth are coming in, there may be areas of space around the teeth. In either case, problems can result. Crowding can cause pain in the jawbone, while excessive spacing can make it difficult to properly clean their teeth.

Underbites and Overbites

If new teeth that come in are not positioned properly, the result can be an underbite or overbite. When this happens, the teeth can experience uneven wear and tear, which can lead to chewing and speech problems later on. If your child experiences these problems, a visit to the orthodontist should be scheduled as soon as possible.

Treatment Options

For parents whose children are having these or other issues with their teeth, the good news is that there are numerous treatment options available to them. Of course, the most common treatment associated with orthodontists involves braces. With a variety of braces now available such as Invisalign or traditional metal braces, it’s now possible to treat virtually any problem a child may experience. Along with braces, many orthodontists now use a palatal expander, a dental appliance which slowly makes the child’s jaw a few millimeters wider, allowing adult teeth to have more room to ascend.

By being proactive about their child’s dental health, it’s possible for parents to catch many problems when they are just beginning. As always, it’s vital to have a child visit their family dentist regularly, since that is where many problems that require an orthodontist are first detected. So when the question is asked of when should your child see an orthodontist, the answer is often as soon as possible.

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