7 Reasons Why Your Child Should See an Orthodontist by Age 7
posted on 6-6-18
Nowadays, it is common to wait until your child’s teens to provide them with orthodontic care. Middle schools and high schools filled with individuals wearing braces or other orthodontia are the norm. Orthodontic care is commonly seen as another painful rite of passage of your teen years, but it doesn’t have to be that way, and – in many cases – shouldn’t be the way.
While it’s common to wait until there are obvious misalignment issues, there are early proactive steps to help your child have the best oral health outcomes. The American Association of Orthodontists advises that children visit an orthodontist for evaluation by age 7.
The following are 7 reasons to see an Orthodontist by age 7:
1. A child’s jaw is still developing in his/her first decade of life
While the jaw is still in development, an orthodontist can detect issues with jaw growth and guide growth to both correct issues and prevent the issues from becoming worse.
2. Unseen misalignments below the gums
Even if your child’s permanent teeth appear straight as they emerge, their location may be slightly off, or still-present baby teeth can cause small changes in alignment. A lot of jaw growth and health occurs below the gums, beyond what the eye can see. If an orthodontist finds these issues early on, treatment may be less extensive.
3. Careful monitoring for early detection
Your child’s bite may be fine, but having an evaluation by age 7 can let you know if careful monitoring throughout the child’s growth and development might be useful. An orthodontist will know if your child will benefit from treatment either now or in the future, giving you a chance to plan ahead.
4. Prevent bigger problems down the road to make future treatment easier and shorter
Early detection and treatment means less extensive work than might be necessary at a later age, which can help save both time and money.
5. Some treatments are no longer an option after the jaw is no longer growing
A child’s development period provides opportunities for guiding jaw growth if concerns about jaw growth and teeth positioning are present.
6. Improve any issues with appearance, speech, and even breathing.
Orthodontists are familiar with how the jaw, bite, and tooth alignment affect the way upper and lower lips meet. Improving the way the lips meet improves appearance and speech clarity. Poor jaw and bite alignment can also cause issues with eating and breathing, which can be corrected with orthodontic treatment.
7. Improved oral hygiene
Managing tooth alignment has more value than just providing a nice smile. Crowded, overlapping teeth collect more tartar and are more difficult to clean. Proper alignment will make it easier to prevent your child from developing cavities.
A proactive approach to guiding permanent teeth, rather than waiting to see how they do on their own, can save you a lot of money, and shorten your child’s time dealing with corrective gear. Orthodontists specialize in knowing when intervention is appropriate and which treatment is best in each case.
Give your child the best opportunity to have their best smile. If your child is almost 7 or already older, make an appointment with your local Utah Association of Orthodontists member for a consultation today. Many offer a free initial consultation.