When You Should Book Your Child’s First Orthodontist Appointment
Good oral health starts early, but at what age should you schedule your child’s first orthodontist visit? To help remove some of the confusion here’s what you need to know about pediatric dentistry and setting your child up for dental success.
When Should You Schedule an Orthodontist Visit?
Technically speaking, all orthodontists are dentists, but only around 5% of dentists are trained orthodontists. If your current dentist practices orthodontic treatment, then you’re already ahead of the game; however, if they’re don’t, consider asking for a recommendation to local pediatric dentists who practice orthodontics. While your current dentist might make the suggestion, it’s advised by the American Association of Orthodontists that children visit an orthodontist by age seven. During this time children should have developed enough of their permanent teeth for orthodontic problems to be identified. This gives orthodontists a head start on fixing problems while they are in the earliest and easiest to fix stages.
If a problem is found at this stage, the orthodontist can begin advising on treatments and when they should start. In some instances, corrective measures may be best when some baby teeth are still in place, while other times the orthodontist may advise waiting until most or all permanent teeth are in. If waiting is advised, your child will usually be scheduled for periodic check-ups to assess development.
Different individuals and different orthodontic problems will require different approaches. Your orthodontist will be able to explain everything during the process and walk you through all the potential treatment options that are available.
The Timeline for Braces
One of the most common orthodontic treatments includes the correction of misaligned teeth or abnormal bite patterns through the use of braces. Braces can be recommended in either one or two phases depending on how developed your child’s teeth and jaw are. Sometimes braces are advised early if the baby teeth are at risk of negatively impacting the development of permanent teeth. In this instance, some children receive braces as young as seven in the first phase. After which the second phase of braces is implemented around age twelve. These second braces are used to straighten the permanent teeth and help them develop a healthy bite pattern. Each of these phases can last anywhere from nine months to over two years, depending on the severity of the complication.
The benefit of undergoing this treatment so early is because a child’s jaw and developing teeth are easier to correct than issues that have been allowed to fully develop. This also allows your child to finish treatment quicker without having to worry about a longer and more difficult treatment in the future.
Start Early for Success
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, early intervention is key. If your child hasn’t been to see an orthodontist yet and they’re seven or above, consider booking an appointment today or asking your current dentist about their recommendations. While not all kids will need braces or corrective action, a simple check-up is all you need for peace of mind. This early intervention can help set your child up for a healthy smile and better oral care in the future.