Not all dental health problems go away with time. While it may be tempting to hope for most oral issues to disappear as your child gets older, it’s not always realistic. Early intervention is crucial to avoid destructive growth patterns that could prove painful and costly when it comes to orthodontic problems. Bringing your child to Mountain West Dental Specialists for oral examinations and care at a young age is the best way to ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth and aligned smiles!
Why should my child begin seeing an orthodontist by age 7?
Children have a decent mix of baby and permanent teeth by age seven. This assortment of growth stages provides our team with a before and after map of your child’s jaw growth and the path the emerging teeth will likely take. Around this point, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends beginning your relationship with your child’s orthodontist.
Seven is an age when most parents will see the eruption of the first adult molars occur. These molars help establish the overall bite your child will inherit as they age and their alignment becomes set with time and bone maturity. The placement of these molars can determine if early treatment will best benefit your child’s oral health or if monitoring your child’s growth and development is all that is necessary for the time being.
When your child should see an orthodontist earlier than age seven
While some issues may be obvious, like crooked teeth or overbite, other matters can be harder to detect. For many parents, it’s not easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment. Even teeth that look straight may be hiding a deeper problem with their bite.
Here are a few clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention at Mountain West Dental Specialists:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Pacifier use, finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening or closing
- Teeth that come together abnormally or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
There’s no need to wait for a dentist to refer your child to an orthodontist. General dentists and orthodontists focus on different aspects of dental health. Dr. Allison and Dr. Keaton are experts in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. When it comes to facial development and bite correction, he has the knowledge and experience to give your child’s smile the best treatment!
What to expect with your child’s orthodontic visit?
During your child’s orthodontic examination, our team will assess the growth and harmony of your child’s jaws and facial bones. We will also inspect the positioning, and anticipated eruption of the teeth as baby teeth are lost and permanent teeth appear in the mouth. Our systematic approach includes taking specific orthodontic photographs to record and measure jaw and teeth positioning, complete exam of the teeth, mouth, facial structures, and any necessary x-rays to evaluate the development of the teeth and jawbones.
This examination may reveal that your child’s bite is acceptable and that early treatment is unnecessary. If a problem is found or is developing, Dr. Allison will recommend intervention with early treatment.
Does early treatment mean braces?
The goal of intervening with early treatment is to establish balanced jaw alignment and ensure space and positioning for the eruption of permanent teeth. Early orthodontic treatment does not necessarily include braces though it may be the best route for your child’s needs. Other examples of early treatment options:
- Removal of baby teeth allows the permanent tooth to erupt into its intended position
- Tongue positioning and training through appliances such as a tongue retaining device or intervention for finger and thumb sucking
- Utilizing a palate expander to widen the jaw and correct breathing problems and lack of space for tooth growth
Early treatment at Mountain West Dental Specialists can begin correcting significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. In some cases, our team will be able to achieve results that would be much more difficult once the face and jawbones finish growing. We will watch how your child’s mouth and teeth grow and develop, so if we see something that needs to be done, we will treat it as it comes up.
When should my child begin orthodontic treatment to straighten their smile?
Sometimes early preventative treatment is all your child needs. In some cases, your child may require a second phase of orthodontic treatment to obtain that rockstar smile you were expecting. Kids’ age to begin this phase of treatment can vary, but most kids will start their orthodontic treatment between nine and fourteen.
At Mountain West Dental Specialists, your child’s orthodontic treatment isn’t limited to metal braces. Our office is excited to offer clear braces that use tooth-colored material, making it practically impossible to know you are on your orthodontic journey. Another great option with lots of flexibility but top-tier efficiency is orthodontic treatment with Invisalign clear aligners.
Find your best smile at Mountain West Dental Specialists
Our team works hard to provide our young patients with compassionate care and a rewarding orthodontic experience, from start to finish. If you’re ready to learn more about how we can transform your child’s smile, get in touch today to schedule a first consultation with Dr. Allison!