From the moment that first baby tooth erupts, your child’s teeth require proper care to stay healthy. You already know your child needs to brush and floss daily and see her dentist twice a year for cleanings and exams.
But some children’s teeth need extra care – with the help of an orthodontist. So when should your child see an orthodontist – and how do you know if she needs one?
Dentists can spot problems early
During a routine dental exam, your child’s dentist can look for potential problems like crooked teeth, a misaligned jaw, or problems with your child’s bite. This is one more reason your child should see her dentist regularly. Your dentist can often spot things that only his or her trained eye can detect.
If your dentist sees a potential problem, your child will likely be referred to an orthodontist for further evaluation and treatment. An orthodontist specializes in straightening teeth and correcting bites that don’t align properly.
Typically, a dentist will send a child to an orthodontist between the ages of 8 and 14 – but some as early as 6 or 7. This is when potential problems are most likely to be detected during a dental exam. The American Dental Association says some bite and teeth misalignments are best treated at younger ages, while your child is still growing. But, even teenagers and adults can have teeth and jaw problems successfully corrected by an orthodontist – so it’s never too late.
More than a cosmetic dentistry issue
Some parents wonder if their child really needs to see an orthodontist so soon if the child isn’t bothered by his crooked teeth. After all, braces might be uncomfortable – so why not just wait a few years? But correcting crooked teeth or a misaligned bite benefits much more than just your child’s appearance. Teeth that aren’t properly aligned can be more difficult to keep clean, leading to cavities, gum disease, speech problems, and even tooth loss. A misaligned jaw can lead to pain or other jaw issues too.
If your child’s dentist spots a potential issue that can be treated by an orthodontist, don’t delay. Most orthodontist will see your child for a consultation and talk with you about potential treatments before you move forward. This way, you can get the proper information to put your mind at ease and make an informed decision about your child’s treatment.
Healthy mouth, healthy child
A healthy mouth is an important part of good overall health for children and adults. Just as your child needs to see his physician regularly for checkups, he needs the care of a dentist to ensure his teeth and jaw are healthy too.
Your dentist is an important part of your family’s health care team. Call your child’s dentist at Ridgeway Family Dentistry in Soldotna today to set up your child’s cleaning and exam.