According to the American Association of Orthodontics, children should have an initial evaluation with an orthodontist by age seven. Seeing an orthodontist at an early age helps identify and correct problems before they create more issues in your mouth. If you aren’t sure whether or not to schedule an appointment for your child, think about these points:
It is easier to treat certain problems as early as possible. Most people want their kids to avoid surgery or extraction of permanent teeth. An orthodontist can look at the way your child’s teeth are developing and suggest treatment to address crowding, such as expanders or early removal of baby teeth.
Early orthodontic treatment can help stop harmful habits. Thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, and use of a pacifier beyond age three can cause future orthodontic issues. If your child has one of these attachments, an orthodontist can work with you to curb the habit before it does lasting damage to your child’s teeth.
You can prevent trauma to front teeth with early orthodontic treatment. Did you know that children with protruding front teeth, also called buck teeth, have an increased chance of fracturing those teeth? As well, buck teeth can create issues with chewing ability and speech. Early orthodontic treatment can boost your child’s self-esteem and improve functionality.
Your orthodontist can keep an eye on your child’s dental development. Just because you see an orthodontist for an evaluation doesn’t mean treatment is always necessary. Having an early assessment allows the orthodontist to watch your child’s progress in case any issues arise.