Providing orthodontic care for your child is about a lot more than aesthetics. Early orthodontic treatment can correct bite abnormalities that could decrease your child’s risk of tooth decay, gum disease, temporomandibular joint disorder and even tooth loss. Even when bite function is not an issue, having straight teeth can have a positive impact on your child’s self-confidence, which is reason enough to have orthodontic treatment.
A lot of people think you should wait until all of your child’s adult teeth have come in before scheduling an appointment with your orthodontist. Although actually, you want to schedule the initial consultation before this. We recommend bringing your child in for the first time around the age of 8 or 9. While your child will probably still have some of their adorable baby teeth, most likely, their permanent molars and incisors will be in so we can get a good idea of what we’re working with. Most parents can agree on the importance of orthodontic treatment for children with alignment problems, but many aren’t sure of when and why. Here’s what you should know.
Signs your child may benefit from seeing an orthodontist from an early age:
- Early, late or irregular loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Protruding teeth
- Thumb sucking beyond the age of 5
- Underbite or overbite
- Crowded, crooked or misplaced teeth
- Jaw and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Evaluation
When a child is eight-years-old, their jaws are still developing. We can help spot even slight problems with jaw growth and the way the permanent teeth are coming in. Even if your child’s teeth look straight enough, there could still be irregularities with their bite. Most of the time, we’ll just monitor your child’s development and let you know when we think it’s time to start treatment.
If your little one has any habits, like sucking their thumb, which could potentially cause unwanted tooth movements or interfere with jaw formation, we can help you create a plan to put a stop to it.
By seeing the orthodontist before all the adult teeth have erupted, you and the orthodontist can work together to create a comprehensive treatment plan that may help prevent or reduce alignment problems that can occur once the adult teeth emerge. That means your child’s treatment could be a lot faster and a lot more budget-friendly.
Early intervention doesn’t just help with alignment, it can also improve the overall health of your child’s mouth. An uneven smile can be especially difficult to clean, with certain teeth being difficult to access when brushing and flossing. If all teeth are not receiving the same level of attention and care, this can lead to tooth decay or gingivitis. The earlier we catch the problem, the less extensive it will be in later life.
Orthodontic treatment will also help to create space for the permanent teeth to erupt properly and decrease the likelihood your child will need corrective jaw surgery down the road. Aesthetically, it will improve the appearance of the smile by correcting facial asymmetries. It can also remedy crossbites, and prevent teeth from becoming impacted later on.
Possible Orthodontic Treatments
Expansion appliances are designed to increase the width of the upper jaw, improving the bite (e.g. crossbites) and providing more room for the developing teeth. Expanders are most beneficial in younger patients and can be either fixed or removable. Additionally, we can fit both braces and Invisalign for your child depending on their treatment needs. Invisalign First is a popular option amongst those that want to have a more discreet, subtle treatment. Invisalign First address the unique needs of growing children and uses sets of clear aligner treatment on a mix of baby and permanent teeth.
If you think your child needs or would benefit from early orthodontic treatment, only a specialist orthodontist has the training, experience and expert knowledge to determine the most appropriate treatment options and the best time to start treatment. By booking an appointment with us, you can be assured that your child is in the best hands. Book a consultation today to start the journey today!