Deciding to take your child to an orthodontist can be a big step. After all, orthodontic treatment is an investment and takes some time, so knowing what to expect is imperative. You may be unsure about the right time to take your child to see an orthodontist. You don’t want to take them too early, but you also don’t want to miss the boat when it comes to correcting issues with their dental health. Although more and more adults are choosing to begin orthodontic treatment, it can be really important to start young, especially if your child has more severe issues.
About Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontics isn’t just limited to crooked teeth. There are many issues that can be successfully corrected by orthodontic treatment. These include:
- Alignment issues
- Bite problems (overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite)
- Jaw problems
- Spacing and crowding issues
Orthodontists are able to fix these issues so they have less of a chance of posing problems later. There are many ways to go about fixing these orthodontic issues, but typically appliances or partial sets of braces are used in the early orthodontic phase. Kids who need early intervention can also use a specialized version of Invisalign, called Invisalign First, to address some of these problems.
When to Begin Orthodontic Treatment
It’s recommended for children to see an orthodontist for an initial check-up around age seven. This is a good age because not all permanent teeth are in place yet and your orthodontist can really get an idea of how things are progressing. In watching a child’s tooth eruption and growth patterns, orthodontists can get a good look at what, if any, treatment is necessary for your child. They can also screen for Phase One treatment indicators and decide on a plan of action for your child.
Advantages of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Some children may not need to begin orthodontic treatment until all permanent teeth have erupted; however, some children may need help now. In beginning orthodontic treatment early, kids will have a better chance of not going through the pain and discomfort associated with various bite problems and jaw abnormalities. Dealing with these issues early on can also be easier because your child’s teeth and bones are still developing, which means the treatment may be less invasive and less expensive.
At the initial check-up, your orthodontist can gain a great deal of information about your child’s smile. If your dentist has recommended that your child see an orthodontist for additional treatment, or if you notice your child is having difficulties with eating or speaking or is losing their baby teeth too early or late, it may be time to speak with a professional. And even if early treatment is not necessary, which is often the case, your orthodontist will have a thorough record of your child’s development to use as they enter their teen years, when most patients start considering braces or Invisalign.