A Happy Smile For the Best Start in Life: Kids and Orthodontists
Today, there are at least 4 million people in the U.S. who wear braces. Only 25% of those 4 million people are older than 18. Hence, if you have a child, you should consider taking them to an orthodontist.
Orthodontic care for children is now an affordable option for many families, allowing you to prevent dental problems for your kids down the road. By pursuing appointments with area orthodontists sooner rather than later, your children will benefit from the best smiles to kick start their lives.
What are some of the benefits associated with early childhood orthodontic care? Are there age restrictions for children seeing orthodontists? Are you contemplating orthodontic care for your young ones? Here is some information to answer those questions and get you started.
What is Early Orthodontic Care?
Orthodontic care for children is really the first case of care relating to teeth and jaw alignment. Although treatment ages can vary, the American Association of Orthodontists advises parents schedule orthodontic appointments once their child reaches the age of seven. The second phase of care happens when the child is at least 11 years old.
The first phase of treatment starts with the orthodontists checking the child’s teeth alignment. They’ll also confirm the quality of a child’s bite and take note of irregularities that need immediate attention. Subsequent treatments during early orthodontic care will be up to the discretion of each orthodontist.
Can You Wait Until the Teenage Years Before Scheduling an Appointment?
It’s really best come for treatment when the child is at least eight or nine years old. Two things happen at this stage.
First, their jaw is forming into a definite shape and size. Any minor problem with this can result in a misaligned jaw or an under-bite.
Second, their permanent teeth are erupting. Any interference with this can result in overcrowding, misalignment, or misshapen teeth.
Other signs that your child needs immediate orthodontic attention include:
- Speech problems
- Inability to close his/her lips
- Breathing through the mouth
- Grinding or clenching the teeth
All these are signs of an underlying problem. Most of these issues are treatable when caught at this age. Plan to take your child for a checkup to confirm. After the checkup, use the advice by the orthodontist to get the best treatment for your child.
What If You Delay Your Child’s Treatment Against the Orthodontist’s Recommendations?
Several scenarios may happen if treatment is unnecessarily delayed:
- You will limit the kind of treatment the child can receive later on
- Some permanent teeth may need extraction
- The child may need to undergo a jaw surgery (which can be quite expensive)
- The treatment in the second phase will be more complex and take longer to be effective
- You’ll risk compromising your child’s dental stability
Childhood orthodontic care is a preventive treatment that every child should have. By prioritizing these visits early, your family can prevent oral health issues and even save money.
How Will This Early Treatment Benefit Your Child?
The impact of childhood orthodontic care is far-reaching. The benefits of early treatment can include the following scenarios.
- The child’s oral health will remain stable throughout their adult life.
- Kids can feel confident about their appearance and smile.
- Children will experience positive social and speech development.
- Young patients will experience proper positioning of their permanent teeth.
- It discourages and corrects poor oral habits like thumb-sucking.
- It lessens pain associated with protruding teeth.
- These treatments can save space needed for the erupting teeth underneath.
- Early care eliminates the chance of impacted teeth and other issues.
- The child’s jaw will grow well.
- Early care lessens the call for jaw surgery in the future.
- There will be no real need need to remove permanent teeth in most cases.
- Early treatment can reduce duration of needed care later on and stabilize subsequent results.
Children adapt quickly to affordable braces, aligners, brackets, and other orthodontic devices. As a result, their teeth and gums will respond more favorably to the treatment. This positive response increases the success rate of the practice.
Early orthodontic care starts when the child is between seven and eight years of age. If you are not sure of what to do next, contact your family dentist for further advice. Most orthodontists will conduct the initial exam free of charge. They will then take you through the steps on what you need to do to help your child’s smile shine as brightly as possible.