If you are wondering when to bring your child for an orthodontic evaluation, Dr. Meagan Struby and the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids should seen by the age of seven.
Why 7? At this point, most children have their 6-year molars and a few adult teeth. Their skeletal pattern of growth is usually apparent at that time, as well. Although most kids do not require orthodontics at seven years old, it is wise to establish a baseline and /or intercept problems that have already arisen. Early treatment can improve future dental outcomes and, sometimes, boost a child’s confidence!
Orthodontic treatment at the appropriate age sets a better, less-complicated stage for their dental development. Prompt intervention may help to avoid extraction or even jaw surgery in the future.
Below are several issues that can be identified by Dr. Struby and treated, if necessary.
1. A Crossbite
A crossbite occurs when your child’s upper jaw is too narrow, which sometimes looks like the lower jaw swings to one side. You might observe that when your child bites down, the face seems off-center or that they are chewing in a funny way. Expanders are used to treat crossbites. Parents: If you had an expander, as a child, there is a likelihood your child may need one as well.
2. An Underbite
This condition is usually a result of a mismatched growth between the upper and the lower jaws. Either the upper jaw is too small or the lower jaw is too large. Another possibility is that the upper teeth grew in angled backward. When such a problem is not treated early, there is a concern that it can lead to jaw surgery.
3. Severe Overbites
Depending on the severity of your child’s overbite, an early correction using a bite plate retainer may be recommended. Improving the deep bite at a young age, helps to reduce wear of the front teeth, may improve gum tissue support around the teeth, and allow for proper development of the lower jaw.
4. Digit Sucking, Tongue Thrusting, Nail Biting
Children with a thumb or finger sucking habit change the shape of their palate, with the posture of their tongue and thumb. This might cause airway problems, crowding issues, protrusion of teeth, and bite issues. Early treatment for such habits usually involves a “habit-reminder” appliance.
5. Severe Teeth Crowding
When your children have lost some of their baby teeth, the adult teeth should grow to replace them. However, adult teeth may come in sideways, too high, overlapping other teeth, or impacted.
In certain situations, it is important to align the crowded teeth, to foster better growth and development of the jaws and remaining teeth.
Schedule an Appointment
When in doubt, visiting a board-certified orthodontic specialist for a consultation will provide you with valuable information about your child’s future orthodontic needs.