This is a very common question for parents because there is a lot to consider when deciding when your child should undergo orthodontic treatment. When is the best time to start is a question at the top of every parent’s list. Fortunately, this question has an easy answer.
The American Association of Orthodontists states that the ideal time for a child to have his or her first visit is at age seven. This may seem like a very young age since the child still has many baby teeth. However, it is an ideal age to identify future orthodontic problems and put a plan of treatment in place.
A child loses teeth in a specific order. Between the ages of six and eight, a child will have lost his or her first eight baby teeth, and the first permanent incisors will have emerged, or will be in the process of emerging. Also, the child will now have his or her first set of permanent molars, the six-year molars. Ideally, the child will now have four permanent incisors and four permanent molars.
Taking x-rays at this time will give your orthodontist a good idea as to what problems could occur later on and can take action to prevent or reduce these problems. A baby tooth might need to be removed early to prevent crowding, or space between teeth might need to be maintained if a baby tooth was lost before the permanent tooth was ready to move in.
What Can the Orthodontist Do at Age Seven?
You may be wondering what can be done at such an early age while your child is still growing. Many problems can not be permanently corrected at this time. However, many things can be done to help your child both dentally and socially. Taking preventative action now can reduce undue trauma on the teeth and underlying gum tissue. Issues that an orthodontist can address at this age include:
•Arch, palate or jaw expansion – This can be done to alleviate problems due to crowding of teeth by making more room for them even before they come in. It’s better for the health of the teeth and gums to do this early.
•Buck teeth – Many a child has been given the nickname “beaver teeth” due to front teeth that are extra large or that stick out. Although nothing can be done permanently at this age, your orthodontist can make life easier for your child both dentally and socially by reducing the severity of the problem.
•Bite problems – Many bite problems can be identified at age seven, however not all of them can be corrected. Underbites can not be permanently corrected until the late teens, but it is important to try to normalize anterior bites as early as possible to prevent bite shifting and tooth damage. Bite problems can also be caused by a child’s own habits such as thumb sucking, which should be eliminated early.
Consult with an Dr. Robert Sanborn for your child’s first orthodontist appointment. Let us help you identify and reduce problems as soon as possible to make your child’s orthodontic experience easier in the long run. Visit our website at www.SanbornOrthodontics.com to make an appointmenttoday!
Sanborn Orthodontics 4251-F Arendell St, Morehead City, NC 28557