Summer is a time for playing outside, but because school is out, it’s also a time for scheduling doctor and dentist appointments. Regular appointments are a must for growing children in order to ensure their adult teeth are developing correctly. So while we’re happy to look at your child’s teeth and give them a thorough cleaning, if you have an elementary school-aged kid, you may also want to schedule them for an orthodontic consultation this summer as well!
You may think that braces are for teens, but that’s not entirely true. Even if your child won’t need braces until later in life, it’s a good idea to have their first orthodontic consultation by the age of eight. Below, we explain why your child would benefit from one of these check ups at an early age.
First Orthodontic Consultation
Getting an orthodontic consultation at an early age for your child is beneficial for a number of reasons. Even before all their adult teeth have come in, an orthodontist can examine their mouth and their teeth structure and determine how their mouth is developing. They aren’t just looking to see if your child’s teeth are straight, they will also be looking for things like:
- Gaps in teeth
- Teeth crowding
- Jaw misalignments
- Bite problems
An orthodontist wants to ensure that you have a healthy smile, but they also want to make sure that you have a healthy mouth for years to come. By checking for the above issues they can determine if any problems are likely in the future.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Why don’t I just have them evaluated if my dentist says they should get checked, or once their adult teeth come in?” Like most dental and medical issues, it’s about early intervention. The earlier a problem is detected and treated, the better the chance that it will respond to treatment.
For example, if it looks like your child is going to need braces, the orthodontist and dentist can ensure that they are fitted for braces as soon as it’s deemed necessary. Instead of needing braces for two years once they’ve reached high school, your child may only need braces for a year in middle or elementary school to correct a minor crowding situation. Left untreated, it may take more time for the braces to shift the teeth back to their correct locations, and this untreated crowding can also lead to cavities or tooth decay.
So if your child hasn’t had their first orthodontic appointment, consider scheduling one this summer. They’ll check for all the above issues, and then take a couple quick x-rays to see how all the adult teeth are forming. After the appointment, they’ll talk with you about any potential issues and provide a plan for going forward. For many patients, they just recommend that the child keep up the good oral hygiene and to call with any concerns. For others, they may ask you to monitor a specific tooth or walk you through the corrective options. Together, a dentist, an orthodontist and a good oral health plan can ensure your child has healthy teeth for years to come. Contact us today with any questions or orthodontist recommendations.