We all hear of the benefits of early detection when it comes to medical issues — the treatments are easier and can decrease the severity of conditions. The case is similar when we recommend children as young as 7 be seen by an orthodontist. We now know that monitoring and intervening earlier in a child’s dental health can produce better outcomes for them in the future.
In particular, we look for specific signs in children that suggest they should be seen by an orthodontist:
- Loss of baby teeth before 5 years of age
- Late loss of baby teeth, after the age of 13
- Snoring or mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking after age 5
- Front or bottom teeth that protrude
- Speech impediments
- Shifting jaws when they open or close mouth
- Misaligned bites
Conditions like these can be treated early to prevent longer, more costly treatments when the child is older.
Early orthodontic treatments include:
- Palate expanders: Palate expanders are used to expand the dental arch to make room for adult teeth when there is teeth crowding.
- Teeth extraction: When there is severe overcrowding, teeth extraction may be recommended to make room for adult teeth to grow into the proper positions.
- Dental appliances: While braces may be needed in the future, early use of dental appliances may decrease the length of time a child will need to wear braces.
If your child’s confidence suffers because of protruding teeth, they experience dental discomfort or pain, or risk damage to their teeth, early orthodontic treatments can be a great benefit. Children don’t need to wait until they are older to experience a healthy, beautiful smile. Although they may need future orthodontic care, chances are good that the treatments will be shorter and less expensive in the long run.
If you have concerns about your child’s teeth, please contact our office to make an appointment to discuss your options.