How Old Should My Child Be For Their First Orthodontist Visit?
The AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) suggests that the majority of children should visit their orthodontist for screening by the age of 7. An early visit will enable us to determine whether treatment is required and, if so, when the right time will be for that treatment to take place. Most dentists within our community are well-trained to spot potential orthodontic issues at an early stage and therefore your child may be referred to us before the age of 7.
What Are The Benefits Of Early Evaluation?
When diagnosis occurs at an early age, it’s possible to guide the erupting teeth towards a better position, save space for the permanent teeth to grow in and reduce the chance of the fracturing of protruding front teeth. When early treatment has been indicated, your orthodontist will guide the jaw growth and the growth of the permanent incoming teeth.
When treatment occurs at an early age, the lower and upper dental arch width can also be better regulated to increase the space for the permanent teeth, to reduce the chance of requiring extraction of permanent teeth, to reduce the chances of permanent teeth being impacted, to correct any thumb sucking behaviors, and to eliminate any abnormal speech or swallowing problems. Simply put, early treatment simplifies later treatment once all the child’s permanent teeth have erupted.
Will All Children Benefit From Early Treatment?
Not all children will benefit from early treatment. There are some orthodontic issues which are more efficiently and easily corrected during the teenage years after the patient’s permanent teeth all have erupted. There are some skeletal problems which should also be addressed once growth is completed or more advanced. A treatment plan will be developed around your child’s individual needs, and when that plan indicates the patient isn’t yet ready to receive treatment, they will join our supervisory orthodontic program.
What Is Our Supervisory Program?
Our supervisory orthodontic program has been designed for those patients who aren’t yet ready to receive treatment but have been put on recall. The program allows us to regularly monitor the permanent teeth’s eruptive pattern. Often, if the baby teeth are removed early, a poor permanent teeth eruption pattern can be eliminated, and this will reduce the amount of time that braces will be necessary. Your regular dentist will be notified of our recommendations after your visit.
Usually, we see patients who are on recall between every 6 to 8 months so we can observe their developments while they grow. We charge no fee for our supervisory program, and your orthodontist will be able to determine the best possible time for treatment to begin in order to achieve optimal results for the patient.
Are There Any Other Benefits To Orthodontic Treatment Apart From A Beautiful Smile?
When you have braces, the function of your teeth and bite can be improved. Also, it becomes easier to clean your teeth and wear on your teeth can be prevented so your natural teeth will last longer.
If My Child Receives Early Treatment, Will They Still Need To Have Braces As A Teenager?
If your child has treatment early, significant problems can begin the process of correction as soon as possible. This can prevent serious problems from occurring and future treatment can be simplified. Since all your child’s permanent teeth will not have erupted during the early treatment phase, the final alignment of those adult teeth may not be correctly.
Usually, a shorter phase 2 treatment involving full braces will be required during the teenage years once all your child’s permanent teeth are in place to complete the correction. In some cases, however, there may be no need for any more orthodontic treatment after the early phase.
Will My Child Still Need To Visit The Dentist While Receiving Orthodontic Treatment?
Any patient with orthodontic appliances or braces will need to work harder to ensure their gums and teeth stay clean. As we’re keen to ensure your child enjoys optimal dental health, it’s important for your child to continue visiting your dentist regularly to receive cleanings and check-ups at 6-monthly intervals during treatment.