Most parents don’t think they have to worry about braces until their child is nearing their high school years, yet the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that kids are seen by an orthodontist by the time they’re 7. The age of 7 is a golden age when your child has both baby and adult teeth, which is important for determining whether or not your child will need braces or other equipment. Seeing a child by the time they are 7 gives your orthodontist a chance to examine your child’s baby teeth to diagnose any underlying bite problems as well as see how the adult teeth are erupting to determine if there are any concerns that need to be addressed early.
Here are some things an orthodontist can determine when you bring in your child for their first orthodontic visit:
- Crowding/spacing issues: By the time a child is 7, they should have enough baby teeth left and enough adult teeth that have come in to detect issues with spacing or crowding. The orthodontist can take x-rays to make sure all of your child’s baby teeth have been replaced by adult teeth.
- Overbites/protrusion: Protruding front teeth can be embarrassing for kids, especially as they get older. This is an issue that can be addressed at an early age, although it cannot be fully remediated until all the baby teeth are gone and all the adult teeth have grown in. An orthodontist can take steps to minimize the overbite and ease the social awkwardness that can accompany it.
- Misalignment: By the age of 7, it is possible to determine whether or not your child’s teeth are coming in straight or misaligned. If the teeth are misaligned, your orthodontist can take corrective measures to straighten them. In addition to looking crooked, misaligned teeth can lead to future problems with the teeth and gums since they wear out unevenly over time.
Signs your child should see an orthodontist
If you still aren’t sure whether or not you should take your child to an orthodontist, talk to their dentist. You should also consider whether your child is experiencing any of the following signs that they need orthodontic care:
- Baby teeth that have fallen out either too early or too late: This can be a sign that there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed to prevent dental issues down the road.
- Difficulty chewing or biting: If your child has trouble chewing food or biting, they could have misaligned teeth or other issues that could be aided by an orthodontist.
- Regularly needs to breathe through their mouth: Recent research has demonstrated that early orthodontic care can help a child who normally breathes through their mouth to comfortably breathe through their nose.
- Current or previous thumb sucking: This can lead to an overbite.
- Crowded teeth: This can lead to misalignment along with other issues.
- A jaw that shifts or makes sounds: This can lead to a serious issue that should be handled sooner rather than later. Take note on if the jaw is to far forward or too far back.
If your child is experiencing any of the above signs, it’s time to schedule an appointment with Monacell Orthodontics. You do not need a referral from a dentist to schedule your complimentary consultation. Dr. Monacell will evaluate your child and discuss the need for orthodontic treatment with you. Contact us at (804) 737-6757 to start the journey to a beautiful new smile!