Early orthodontic care often starts at the dentist’s office.
If you want your child to enjoy a life of great oral health, your best bet is to start bringing them to the dentist once they turn one or as soon as they’ve got their first tooth. Even before they require any dental services, your child can gain a lot from having the dentist assess the development of their teeth.
When your child receives regular dental checkups, your dentist will often be able to identify a malocclusion or other orthodontic issue before it’s had the chance to fully develop. From there, they can suggest preventive treatment or some form of early orthodontic intervention.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends you bring your child in for an orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of seven. This allows your dentist to identify any potential issues early on, and perhaps even intervene to prevent problems from developing later.
If you’re feeling tentative about early orthodontic care for your child, that’s totally understandable. After you take a look at this guide, you’re likely to feel a lot more comfortable.
Why do dentists often recommend early orthodontic care?
Bringing your child for an orthodontic checkup before they’ve even gotten their adult teeth can sound somewhat unnecessary to some parents. After all, children can’t even receive braces until they’ve lost all of their baby teeth, and an adult can get them any time anyway, right?
While this reasoning does appear sound on the surface, there’s more to it, which can make early orthodontic treatment seem a lot more sensible. There are early intervention treatments that can be done before your child has lost their baby teeth and can help address orthodontic issues before they develop into something more troublesome.
Perhaps the biggest reason you should consider early orthodontic treatment is that children’s mouths are more malleable before they hit puberty. This means that certain kinds of treatment will be easier and more effective for them if you take early action. Here are a few of them.
1. Proper Development of the Palate
Your child’s palate, or the roof of their mouth, needs to grow to a certain size in order to fit all of their incoming permanent teeth.
Certain habits, such as thumb-sucking or pacifier use beyond the age of about two, can make the palate narrow, which can lead to malocclusion. Other times, the palate simply does not provide the permanent teeth with the room they need, leading to orthodontic issues.
In either case, a simple palate expander may be all the orthodontic intervention your child requires to avoid years of orthodontic care and possibly even surgery.
2. Avoiding Damage to the Teeth
When problems like malocclusion, crowding, and bite issues are addressed early on, your child not only gets to avoid the feeling of self-consciousness that can come from an imperfect smile, but they also avoid the wear and tear caused by these issues.
Simple early orthodontic treatment, like space maintainers, can ensure that teeth come in exactly where they should, not in the way of one another.
3. Easier Oral Hygiene
It’s already enough of a hassle to get your kids to follow their daily oral hygiene routine. Adding orthodontic issues that make cleaning their teeth even harder is a recipe for cavities, gum disease, and other issues.
Crowded teeth can overlap one another, making some areas difficult to access with a toothbrush. Those areas are much more likely to accumulate plaque and tartar and experience oral health issues.
4. Avoiding Other Issues
While avoiding more complicated treatments, preventing damage, and reducing the chances of tooth decay are all great reasons to seek early orthodontic care for your child, they’re not the only reasons.
If a malocclusion is severe enough, it can lead to disordered breathing, which brings with it a number of other issues related to your child’s oral health and overall health. Addressing these problems early on can help prevent jaw soreness and pain, open-mouth breathing, sleep issues, and much more.
Orthodontics is not just a cosmetic concern.
Although the appearance of your child’s smile is no small matter, it’s not the only thing that can potentially be affected by a lack of early orthodontic care.
Having your child’s orthodontic development assessed at an early age and addressing any issues your dentist identifies can go a long way toward helping your child avoid future discomfort and stay on track for a lifetime of great oral health.
While you should start bringing your child to see the dentist by the time their first tooth erupts, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends you start bringing them in for orthodontic checkups as early as age seven.
Are you looking for a children’s dentist near Prince Frederick or Waldorf?
Don’t wait to bring your child in for an orthodontic checkup. Contact We Make Kids Smile, and get them started on the path to perfect oral health.