When Should Children See an Orthodontist?

Does your child have an overbite? Jaws that seem to be turning in an awkward way?

Are you wondering when to see an orthodontist?

Orthodontics is the best kind of dentistry for children, and having an appointment early could make all the difference. An orthodontist is a specialist who deals exclusively with the teeth, jaws, and related tissues. They can play an essential role in ensuring your child has a healthy mouth for their entire life.

There are several reasons why seeing an orthodontist is recommended. Keep reading to learn when you should get professional dental care.

When to See an Orthodontist

Children should see an orthodontist by the age of 7. This is important because, by that age, the permanent teeth have often erupted. Thus, the orthodontist can find any potential problems with their teeth.

Early intervention for a minor dental issue can mean fewer invasive treatment is required later on. An orthodontist will be able to discuss any issues related to how teeth bite together or the alignment of the teeth.

Seeing an orthodontist can give you peace of mind. This is upon knowing that your child’s dentition is going to develop without any issues down the line.

Early Orthodontic Visits and Their Benefits

Early visits can allow orthodontists to spot and fix any potential problems early on. Additionally, this can help create a customized plan for later orthodontic treatment when kids’ permanent teeth come in.

Early treatment could mean shorter and simpler orthodontic procedures. This early attention ensures that kids achieve the best potential treatment. It also reduces the amount of time kids will spend in braces.

Early orthodontic visits also help children be better prepared for the punishments of a dental problems. Orthodontists help them develop good habits like brushing and flossing. As such, children should get an early orthodontic visit to enjoy all the advantages of early and effective treatment.

Other Signs

Other than the age and arrival of permanent teeth, there are other signs you need to look out for. Here are some of them.

Excessive or Unequal Jaw Growth

It is essential to watch for excessive or unequal jaw growth in children. Jaw growth that is too advanced or delayed could indicate the need to see an orthodontist.

While some cases may be slight, excessive jaw growth can lead to bite problems, while unequal jaw growth can cause the mouth to have an asymmetrical appearance. By evaluation at age 7, an orthodontist should be able to diagnose the issue and determine if treatment is necessary.

Treatment may include braces, retainers, a special mouth guard, a combination, or Invisalign. You can check the pros and cons of Invisalign to determine if it’s the correct procedure for your child. Whatever the case, early detection is key to avoiding more severe issues in the future.

Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing is a common occurrence and often indicates underlying issues that must be addressed. Children should see an orthodontist as soon as possible if they are mouth breathing.

It is essential to identify the cause of mouth breathing, as the underlying issue can range from slight structural misalignments in the jaw to sleep apnea. Early orthodontic intervention is recommended to reduce the impact of mouth breathing.

An orthodontist can provide a comprehensive treatment plan for mouth breathing and any other oral or facial developmental issues. Furthermore, the orthodontist will continue monitoring and adjusting the plan as needed to ensure that a child receives the best possible solution to resolving any current and future mouth-related issues.

Speech Problems

Children should see an orthodontist as soon as possible if they have speech problems. A pediatrician or primary care doctor can help identify if a child’s speech changes may warrant an orthodontic evaluation.

Orthodontists can evaluate the child’s mouth and teeth to see if any dental issues cause the speech difficulty. If the child has no teeth problems and is using dentures, the orthodontist can check the structure to see if this is affecting how the jaws interact when the child speaks.

The orthodontist can also fit braces for the child and show them how to use them properly to produce clear sounds. They can also fit a palatal expander to widen the upper jaw and make more room for teeth and tongue movement.

Jaw Pain

It is recommended that children should see an orthodontist for jaw pain as soon as possible. If their jaw pain has been happening for over a few days, they should make an appointment with an orthodontist.

Early intervention can help address potential jaw pain and other problems before they become more serious. Additionally, children should see an orthodontist regularly to look for signs of jaw pain or misalignment that could become more severe as they age.

Finally, any sudden, severe pain should be addressed promptly. Ignoring it may lead to more serious issues such as TMJ disorder or other jaw-related conditions.

Uneven Tooth Wear

Children should see an orthodontist when experiencing uneven tooth wear, which can be caused by many factors. These include injuries, genetics, or trauma to the teeth.

Uneven tooth wear can cause aesthetic issues and difficulty with speaking and eating. Your child will also have a higher risk of cavities, painful TMJ problems, and gum disease.

Crossbite or Underbite

Early intervention allows for minor jaw adjustments and guides the proper development of the jaw. Since underbites and crossbites can magnify over time, this age provides the best opportunity to correct the malpositions.

Severe cases may require more complex and lengthy treatments that must begin at an earlier age. It is essential to pay attention to dental hygiene and tooth development in children, as left untreated, malpositions can worsen over time, leading to other issues such as trauma to the face and teeth.

Maintain a Lifetime of Healthy Teeth With an Orthodontist

Children should begin seeing an orthodontist at around the age of 7. Seeing an orthodontist sooner rather than later helps with early prevention and treatment. This is important for maintaining a lifetime of healthy teeth.

So, don’t wait! If you have any concerns, schedule an appointment with your child’s orthodontist as soon as possible! Doing so can make a lifetime of difference in your child’s smile.

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