Par ents are usually well-versed in getting their child to the dentist early on. Establishing oral health routines for your toddlers is standard – but many parents have questions about getting their child set up with orthodontic treatment. What about their first visit to the orthodontist? When should they go? Is my child too young for the orthodontist? Is my child too young for braces? Luckily, all these questions have simple answers.
The Lucky Number Seven
Age seven is the magic number for a first orthodontist visit. This is because, at seven, your child’s first set of molars should have come in. This first set of molars erupts between ages six and seven and are in the lower jaw and do not replace any baby teeth.
The seven-year molars are a good indicator of future dental issues once they have fully grown in. Seeing your child right after this growth occurs allows your orthodontist to get a more accurate picture of your child’s mouth and treatment plan than if they were seen before the molars grew in but give them enough time to address possible issues before it’s too late.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment – Long Term
Early orthodontic treatment is a proactive step parents can take to promote their children’s long term oral health. Because early orthodontic treatment occurs when your child has a mixture of adult and baby teeth, there are countless issues in the long run that can be avoided. One example of this is early treatment can regulate the width of the dental arch before they progress into more serious orthodontic issues. The dental arch is the part of the jaw that houses your teeth. Orthodontists specialize in the treatment of problems in the dental arch and what is called malocclusions, or the improper alignment of the upper and lower teeth.
Proactive treatment also makes sure your child has fewer impacted teeth, fewer future tooth extraction procedures, and may resolve speech problems. Procedures to correct these issues once the teeth fully develop are costly and time-consuming. The early treatment approach may be the preventative measure that stops their occurrence.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment – Short Term
Having crooked teeth or a skewed bite is hard on your self-confidence. Sadly, many children with these dental issues experience teasing and bullying from their peers. It’s the reason so many are eager to visit the orthodontist when the time comes. When treatment begins it can take a while to complete, but most patients tend to see gradual improvements well before their appliances come off.
It can be hard for kids to wait months or years for results, so some short-term benefits of early treatment that are equally as great as the long-term results are an easier time at the dentist. Better oral health will certainly help in that regard and improve self-esteem.
Seeing an orthodontist for an initial evaluation does not necessarily mean treatment begins right away. Your orthodontist may recommend a treatment plan that starts a year down the road. The most important part is that your child’s mouth moves at its own pace to a beautiful and healthy smile!