If visits from the tooth fairy are coming to an end and your child’s permanent teeth are filling in, it is probably time to start considering a trip to the orthodontist. When a child’s permanent teeth begin erupting, a qualified orthodontist will be able to assess and detect possible problems with emerging teeth and jaw development and begin the process of planning treatment to correct these issues.
The American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists suggest children visit an orthodontist for evaluation by the age of seven, which is roughly the age most kids see the eruption of permanent teeth. Because an orthodontist is specially trained to align and straighten teeth, early detection of issues allows them to develop the best possible treatment plan.
Early assessment does not mean your child will begin the process of orthodontia immediately. However, this screening will allow your orthodontist to consider the best future treatment for bite problems, overcrowded or misaligned teeth. Some of these problems can be corrected at an early age through other dental treatment, resulting in shorter and less complicated orthodontic treatments.
In the past, correcting these types of issues with braces has been a single-phase process beginning after all primary teeth have fallen out and been replaced by permanent teeth. However, advances in orthodontic treatments have introduced a two-phase plan that can begin far earlier. Utilizing a dental appliance at a younger age followed by traditional braces can allow for a shorter treatment plan than the single-phase treatment.
To determine what type of treatment would be most beneficial to your child, consult with a qualified orthodontist as soon as you see permanent teeth make an appearance. This evaluation could mean the difference in shortening your child’s time in braces by months or even years and result in a lifetime of beautiful smiles.
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