For most teenagers, a visit to the orthodontist is a normal occurrence. But should the same be said for a seven-year-old? Could seeing an orthodontist at an early age prevent the child from having to go through the standard braces as a teen?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does recommend that children should pay a visit to an orthodontist by the age of seven for several reasons. It usually does not cost anything and gives the child an opportunity to meet the doctor and the office staff, absolving any fears and apprehension the child may have about what goes on in the orthodontic setting. This visit will allow the doctor to evaluate your child’s mouth development and see if there are any behaviors that your child is exhibiting that are affecting their bite.
Orthodontists are happy to see your young child in our office for a consultation. In many cases, if there is something we can do to help your child develop good oral health habits early on, a San Clemente, CA pediatric orthodontics office such as one at John Redmond Orthodontics can provide further treatment that may be needed.
Issues that the orthodontist can address while the patient is very young include:
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking
- Chewing difficulties
- Cheek biting
- Tongue thrusting
- Grinding the teeth
- Baby teeth that fall out early or late
What can an orthodontist do to address these behavioral or jaw issues at such a young age?
When the patient is young, their jaw and bones are still developing and are easier to manipulate using various methods of orthodontic treatment. The orthodontist can:
- Maintain space for teeth that haven’t come in yet
- Balance the growth of both lower and upper jaws
- Address front teeth that are protruding to avoid injury
- May use an expander to widen jaw to keep teeth from crowding
- Check and correct open bite, crossbite, and deep bite
- Manipulate the jaw’s growth so that new teeth will come in straight
In teenagers and adults, teeth often need to be extracted in order to correct crossbites or other issues concerning alignment. If the potential for teeth overcrowding is addressed when the child is young, the orthodontist can take measures necessary to prepare the jaw to allow the teeth room to come in correctly aligned.
Beginning treatment at an early age can significantly shorten the length of time needed for braces, and in some cases, totally eliminate the need for braces. Of course, this is not true for every case, however, if intervening at an early age can shorten or make orthodontic treatment less extensive, it is worth the time invested for a free consultation.
There are some conditions that your child may have inherited from you. Common genetic issues include missing teeth, extra teeth, or impacted teeth. Orthodontists can screen for these specific conditions and make evaluations and recommendations.
John Redmond Orthodontics welcome our younger patients and we work hard to make this first visit enjoyable and unintimidating. We realize younger children can be overwhelmed and frightened by not knowing what to expect. Our staff takes the time to explain in terms they can understand so they can look forward to future visits rather than dread them.