When Does My Child Need to See an Orthodontist?

When you think about your childhood or adolescence, you may have vivid memories of needing to get braces when you were in middle school or even high school. Because of this, you may think your elementary school-age child is not ready for orthodontic treatment. However, these days, advances in orthodontic technology and changes in recommended orthodontic treatment plans have caused general dentists to begin referring patients as young as seven years of age to an orthodontic practice for braces and other orthodontic appliances designed to create space, align teeth and improve bite. Here are some guidelines for helping you determine whether it’s time to set up an appointment at the orthodontist’s office for your child.

Lucky Seven

Because most orthodontists do not choose to begin a course of treatment for children who have not yet lost any of their baby teeth, most orthodontic care professionals recommend a first visit once a child turns seven. This may seem awfully young to begin discussing orthodontic treatment, but in reality, it is the optimal time. By the time a child is seven, an orthodontist can get a pretty accurate picture of how the permanent teeth are going to be aligned as they come in, as well as address any issues with spacing, overbite or other orthodontic concerns. Because a seven-year-old child has normally already lost some or all of her eight primary teeth (the four front teeth on the top and bottom), as well as had the aptly-named “6-year molars” erupt, this is a good time to begin assessing the placement of the incoming permanent teeth and correct any issues with alignment or bite as they arise.

Achieving the Right Bite

When a child is seven years of age, the permanent teeth have just emerged, meaning that any existing alignment or bite issues have not yet caused the wear and tear on the teeth that can happen by waiting until adolescence or adulthood to correct them. Taking early measures to properly align permanent teeth can help reduce the possibility of cracked or broken teeth as a result of a misaligned bite.

Confidence is Key

As many of us are sure to remember, wearing braces when you are already in the throes of the awkward adolescent years can deliver a pretty substantial blow to your confidence and self-esteem. By choosing orthodontic treatment for your child at a young age, you are helping him or her to avoid the feelings of embarrassment or anxiety that orthodontic appliances can cause in adolescence or adulthood. A seven-year-old child is likely to care far less about his or her appearance, and may even think of braces as a cool accessory instead of a hindrance. By acting fast on orthodontic treatment, you can ensure that your child’s orthodontic appliance will be a thing of the past by the time those teen years strike.

Having your child visit the orthodontist for the first time at or around the age of seven is a good way to ensure that proper measures are being taken to help achieve a beautiful smile and healthy bite. Brentwood Family Dentistry in Kirkwood is here to get your child on the path to excellent orthodontic treatment as soon as possible. Contact the team at Brentwood Family Dentistry today at 314-961-3221 to schedule an orthodontic consultation for your child.

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