When should my child visit an orthodontist?
This is one of the first questions that concerned parents ask. Braces are usually associated with teenagers, so you might be surprised to find out that there are braces for kids from as young as seven years old who can benefit from early orthodontic treatment. This does not indicate that every young child needs to undergo orthodontic treatment but should at least undergo regular dental checkups.
These regular dental appointments will help your dentist monitor your child’s teeth and look out for dental issues that can be avoided with early orthodontic treatment. If your dentist has any problems with the way that your child’s teeth are growing, then the chances are that they will refer you to an orthodontist for an NHS assessment.
An orthodontist will evaluate your child’s oral health and smile to ascertain whether your child needs orthodontic treatment or not and if he is fit enough for NHS care. In some cases, immediate treatment isn’t required but your orthodontist will want to keep a close eye on your child’s teeth and jaws. In this instance, they will invite you back for a review appointment.
What are the Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment to Your Children?
It is vital that your orthodontist monitor your child’s oral development very closely as a lot of oral problems can be handled better and more easily if treated at a younger age. As we age, our jawbone naturally begins hardening and stops growing which makes orthodontic treatment a bit more difficult.
Early orthodontic treatment gives you and your dentist the chance to guide the growth of your child’s jawbone and change its width and position. This type of treatment is not suitable for adults for whom alternative solutions are the removal of your teeth or surgery.
If early treatment is done prior to your child’s adult teeth erupting then your orthodontist can help to ensure that there is sufficient space for your child’s adult teeth to erupt in their proper places.
Here are 8 signs why your child may need to visit an orthodontist:
- Early or Delayed Loss of Baby Teeth: If your child starts to lose his/her baby teeth prior to the age of five, then this is this is a clear sign that you need to schedule a meeting with your orthodontist.
- Thumb Sucking: If your child is more than 5 years of age but still sucks his finger or thumb, then this can be a problem as it is harmful to the eruption and position of your child’s teeth as well as the growth of their jaws which will probably require orthodontic treatment in the long term.
- Difficulty in Chewing or Biting: If your child struggles with biting or chewing his food.
- Mouth Breathing or Snoring: Mouth breathing and snoring, particularly at such a young age should not be a reason for sleepless nights. It is important to have this issue checked out with your orthodontist.
- Crowded or Misaligned Teeth: If your child’s teeth are crowded or misaligned which normally does not happen prior to the age of 7 or 8 years of age. Having an orthodontist who is trained to identify where crowding occurs or could occur is best to prevent your child from having any crooked teeth in future with braces for kids.
- Protruding Front Teeth: Front teeth stick out for a lot of different reasons like differential jaw growth, tongue posture and thumb sucking. It is important to tackle this problem early before it can get out of control later, the best way is with braces for kids.
- Speech Impediment: If your child struggles with pronouncing certain words and sounds in their very early years which may sound like garble. But this difficulty to pronounce certain words and sounds can be evidence of a lisp.
- If Your Child’s Jaw Shifts and Makes a Sound Upon Opening or Closing: Observe whether your child’s jaw shifts upon the opening or closing of his mouth, this is most visible when you children are eating or biting together onto something. This can lead to asymmetrical facial growth if left untreated.
Why wait until your child complains of jaw pain or is humiliated for any of the above symptoms at school? Why not fix what you can now and make your child’s future a lot easier, brighter and more economical on your pocket with pediatric orthodontics? There is no better or easier way to find out than by scheduling an appointment with your orthodontist. Don’t delay!
Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to creating perfect smiles for his patients and also to educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to different types of braces and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing.