Knowing when to take your child to see an orthodontist can be tricky – what to look out for? Is there a standard age? Are check-ups necessary? In some cases, children as young as 7 can benefit from orthodontic treatment though it is not necessarily essential to take children this young to the orthodontist for a check up. However, general check-ups with a dentist are essential.
Here at Shields, your child’s general dentist will look out for any complications with your child’s teeth and identify any areas where early orthodontic treatment might benefit them in the long term. It might be that treatment is not needed immediately but that is is important to keep an eye on the way your child’s teeth and bite develop.
The benefits of early treatment
General check-ups are essential, regardless of whether your child needs orthodontic treatment at present. Early orthodontic treatment for your child can prevent the need for more serious treatment in the future. Misaligned teeth can also cause a deterioration in dental hygiene, as it is easier for plaque and tartar to collect in unnatural gaps in your mouth. It is essential that young children have the best possible start to a strong dental hygiene routine and in many ways this is interchangeable with your child’s bite and how their teeth sit.
What to look out for:
- Baby teeth that are lost too late or too early (note that most baby teeth are lost between the ages of 5-14).
- Thumb-sucking – if thumb sucking is an early habit for your child, it may cause bite complications later on. If this continues into your child’s primary school years, it may be a good idea to see an orthodontist here at Shields.
- Teeth that appear not to bite together correctly or protrude.
- Problems with speech such as a mispronunciation, lips or slurring.
- Crowded adult teeth.
What does early orthodontic treatment involve?
Your orthodontist here at Shields might recommend that your child wear removable or fixed braces for a time depending on how serious the issue is – a removable brace is generally more common at this age. This may be followed by wearing a retainer post-treatment.