Why Your Child Should See an Orthodontist By 7
My son’s dentist told me I should schedule an appointment with an orthodontist. My son is only 7 – that seems way too early to me. Can’t I wait a few years?
Dear Maureen,Your son’s dentist is exactly right. The American Association of Orthodontist’s recommends children have their first visit with an orthodontist by the age of seven, and for good reason.
In most cases, orthodontic treatment won’t be needed that early, but an orthodontist is trained in issues that might escape a dentist’s eye. I can spot subtle issues in jaw growth, or how permanent teeth are coming in that might indicate we need to keep a close eye on your child’s progression.
By the age of seven, a child typically has a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth, which means we can start to get a clearer idea of how those permanent teeth are erupting and if there is any cause of concern. I might be able to spot an emerging problem, that with monitoring, we can fix at the exact right time to ensure the best outcome for your child’s smile.
While most children won’t need orthodontic treatment so young, others can benefit from early treatment because it can prevent more serious issues from occurring later. So a visit now may actually save you time and money in the future.
Dear Kathy,On the contrary, scheduling an orthodontic consultation now might actually be saving you money in the future!
First, most orthodontists don’t charge for initial consultations, so you don’t need to worry about a large fee.
Second, there are some issues your orthodontist might catch that can prevent your child from needed more serious treatment in the future. Your child’s teeth might look straight to you, but there could be underlying issues your orthodontist can catch and correct before they cause big headaches.
Another reason to visit an orthodontist at a younger age is because treatment is often more effective at younger ages. While most children won’t need braces or other treatment at the age of seven or eight, having braces put on during adolescence while the jaw and bones are still growing is beneficial. The teeth will respond better, and you can prevent the need for costly and painful surgery to adjust the jaw.
Early treatment, when indicated, can make any future treatment needed easier and quicker. But even if your child doesn’t need early treatment, the orthodontist can continue monitoring and ensure if treatment is needed, it is begun at the right time to provide the best results.
Evaluating your child’s mouth at the age of seven gives your daughter the best chance to have an ideally functioning smile that is as healthy as it is beautiful.