When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

    Many children will need braces at some point in their life. Knowing when to start this process is crucial in making the process smoother and more successful. But, when should this process start and when should your child first visit their orthodontist?
   

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children first visit their orthodontist by the age of seven and then every six months to a year after that for observation. This is because enough permanent teeth have erupted by this time to give the orthodontist an idea of the relationships between developing teeth, as well as between the jaw and bite. 

 

By the age of seven, several important dental landmarks have already occurred. The first is that the six-year molars have erupted, allowing the bite to be accurately evaluated. Another is that substantial growth has already occurred in the width, height, and front to back directions of the upper and lower jaw bones, but there is still enough growth left to allow intervention if needed. The front permanent teeth are also starting to erupt, allowing the orthodontist to evaluate your child for overcrowding, open bites, deep bite, and asymmetry in the face, teeth, or bite. Finally, bad habits such as thumb sucking, finger sucking, tongue thrusting, or mouth breathing can be identified and corrected to prevent damaging the jaw bones. 

 

Even if the child’s teeth appear to be straight, it is still important to see an orthodontist because this can change as more permanent teeth begin to emerge. Orthodontists are specially trained to anticipate changes in children’s mouths and can help suggest treatment as needed. 
   

During an orthodontic consult, the orthodontist will use special tools to carefully inspect your child’s teeth and look into their mouth. They will also evaluate their bite and may also take X-rays to further examine jaw structure or the emergence of future teeth. Your child’s first orthodontic consult will most likely go one of three ways. First, the orthodontist says everything looks good and sends you on your way. Second, they find an issue that they would like to monitor, but do nothing at the current moment. Or third, they find an issue that they believe would be best treated by early intervention. 
   

Early treatment of misaligned teeth or jaw bones is important because it can minimize the amount of treatment needed since the treatment is more effective. At a younger age, the jaw bones are more malleable and are able to be adjusted in their growth patterns and position. Incoming teeth can also be regulated so that they emerge correctly. If left untreated, both can result in the possible need for teeth removal and/or surgery. 
 

  Most early orthodontic treatment includes wearing a removable appliance that helps keep the teeth in their proper position as new adult teeth are coming in. In certain instances, early orthodontic treatment can involve braces. Another common early orthodontic treatment is the Twin Block brace, which is a removable brace designed to reposition the jaw into a more correct position. 
   

There are a few signs that may indicate your child may be a candidate for orthodontic care. These signs include: premature or delayed loss of baby teeth, difficulty chewing or biting, mouth breathing, thumb sucking, jaws that are too forward or too backward, biting the cheek or roof of the mouth, protruding teeth, upper and lower teeth that do not meet or meet abnormally, an unbalanced facial appearance, grinding or clenching of the teeth, and teeth that are crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out. 

 

Call us at:

901-377-1744

 

The Orthodontic Clinic, P.C.

 

Bartlett Location:

 

6637 Summer Knoll Circle, Suite 102

Bartlett, TN 38134

 

East Memphis Location:

 

1713 Kirby Parkway

Memphis, TN 38120

 

Fax:  901 507 4772

Email:

info@memphisbraces.com

 

 

 



 

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