At What Age Should I Take My Child to the Orthodontist?
You’ve probably noticed a lot more younger kids with braces these days. No, it’s not because kids’ teeth are any worse than were before. Rather, it’s because we have identified several benefits to orthodontic care for children whose bodies—and teeth—are still developing. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists suggest that the best age for a child to make the first visit to the orthodontist is at the age of 7.
Of course, not every orthodontic issue can be treated at 7, but many can be identified, giving us a jumpstart on treatment options.
Tooth Loss and Eruption—By age 7 most children have at least 4 permanent molars and 4 permanent incisors. If there are more or less teeth, there may be problems with extra teeth, missing teeth or crowding. Identifying these issues early on can prevent bigger problems later on.
Alignment—Crooked teeth can be more susceptible to uneven wear or damage due to trauma when treated at older ages. Also the shape and position of gum tissue can be compromised. Not to mention dealing with crooked teeth at an early age can prevent the negative impact on their self esteem that many feel as they get older and take more notice of their smile.
Crossbites—Posterior crossbites can create crowding while also causing the jaw to shift laterally. Expanding the upper jaw at age 7 can reduce crowding and create the necessary space for anterior eruption. It can also eliminate any shifting due to a constricted upper arch.
Deepbites and Openbites—By age 7 we can detect vertical bite problems as well. Bites that are too deep may indicate a patient who has a small lower jaw. Openbites that don’t overlap enough can mean there’s a finger or tongue habit that can cause dental problems. Identifying and eliminating these destructive habits early can be crucial to normal development.
If you’d like to learn more about making your child’s first appointment, please give us a call at (502) 897-1112. We’re always happy to answer any questions and we look forward to hearing from you!