When Should You Take Your Child to See the Orthodontist?

child at the orthodontist Do you think your child might need to see an orthodontist?

If you have noticed that your child’s teeth are crooked, overlapping, or even spaced out too far with significant gaps between different teeth, you likely have some concerns.

Knowing when to take your child to see the orthodontist can make such a difference because help is available for all kinds of orthodontic issues that children may experience from time to time.

Early Age Visits

Many parents do not realize they can bring their children over to visit with an orthodontist when they are as young as seven years old.

Parents often feel that it is too early because their child still has plenty of baby teeth, but seven years old is the ideal age to have an orthodontist examining your childs teeth.

The orthodontist could determine if there are specific issues that you need to be aware of and could then recommend treatment based on his or her findings.

For example, there might be problems with the way the teeth are growing in. If they are overlapping one another, your child could have a hard time properly caring for the teeth while brushing and flossing.

When it is harder to get the teeth clean, the child is at risk of dealing with serious dental issues, including decay and gum disease. It is better to have those teeth straightened out sooner than later when they could become even more problematic.

Signs It May Be Time to See an Orthodontist

Crooked Teeth

Even if your child is over the age of seven years old and you had never thought about bringing him or her to the orthodontist in the past, you may have recently noticed that your child’s teeth have shifted. The teeth are likely becoming even more crooked now that the adult teeth are growing in to take over the areas where those baby teeth once were.

Crooked teeth are more than just a cosmetic concern. While they can make a person feel insecure when talking and smiling, they can make it difficult to eat certain foods.

A person with crooked teeth might have more trouble keeping his or her teeth clean, thus resulting in more cavities and more dental issues.

If a child has crooked teeth, the orthodontist will typically recommend getting braces. Different straightening options are available, including metal braces and Invisalign.

Metal braces are often considered the best option for children. While Invisalign provides a convenient and metal-free way to straighten the teeth, children are not always good at remembering to wear the aligners that help with the straightening process.

Gapped Teeth

Does your child have large gaps between most of his or her teeth? Some people naturally have gapped teeth, but this can become a problem for your child as food gets stuck between the teeth and the bad bacteria builds up.

Too much bacteria can cause damage to the teeth and gums, contributing to gum disease and tooth decay. Even if it is not happening now, it can happen to your child in the future, especially when he or she is an adult. It is for that reason that it is a good idea to have the gapped teeth taken care of now.

An orthodontist will usually recommend braces as the ideal method of treatment for gapped teeth. The braces will shift the teeth into place, causing them to get closer to one another to fill in those spaces that were once there. It may not take too long for the teeth to shift right into place.

Underbite or Overbite

If your child has an underbite or overbite, you should bring him or her to see the orthodontist. Underbites and overbites are often uncomfortable and can lead to various dental problems now as well as in the future. The orthodontist may recommend different treatment options, such as upper jaw expanders, braces, and possibly even surgery.

While most children will not need to undergo a surgical procedure because of the other options that are offered, it will depend on the severity of the underbite or overbite. An orthodontist would go over the options that he or she feels would be best for your child after carefully examining the teeth and the mouth for potential issues.

Mouth breathing

It’s a red sign if your child is beating through his or her mouth, and it warrants intermediate orthodontic attention.

According to research [1] (performed back in 1970), more breathing can have a serious impact on overall facial structure and can even result in deformed teeth structure.

It might difficult for your child to explain if he or she is experiencing with such an issue so as a parent or guardian, it’s your responsibility to check for the symptoms.

Some of the prominent symptoms are:

1. Irritability
2. Increased crying episodes at night
3. Cracked lips
3. Problem concentrating on one specific topic
4. Slower than the normal growth rate

Make Sure Your Child Receives Professional Orthodontic Care

When you have some concerns about your child’s teeth, you should never hesitate to bring your child to the orthodontist’s office. It is often better to bring children to the office when they are younger rather than waiting until they are much older, but it is never too late for someone to receive professional orthodontic care.

Whether your child has crooked teeth, gapped teeth, overlapping teeth, or even an underbite/overbite, treatment options are available and are provided by the experienced orthodontists. You will need to schedule an appointment to learn more about these different options.

If you are looking for professional orthodontic care, you can visit Dr. Jessica Cohen DMD, MS. She is a Board-Certified Orthodontist with 10+ years of experience.

She is a mom of 3 girls and is committed to having a positive impact on the lives of children and adults through orthodontics.

Her research on the esthetic characteristics of beauty pageant winners gives her an amazing ability to craft a smile that is both functional and beautiful.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295456/

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