When should I start worrying about orthodontics for my child?

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Invisalign Dentist in Westlake Village Shares Info on Orthodontics

The importance of identifying orthodontic issues at a younger age has been shown to minimize, or even eliminate, more extensive orthodontic treatment later in life. Often early orthodontic intervention can help guide proper jaw development and allow proper room for normal eruption of the permanent teeth. This may affect the child’s appearance, speech and confidence.

You might be wondering if your child is too young to see an orthodontist. Typically, your general dentist will be able to recommend the right time for an orthodontist visit based on your child’s growth and development. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by the age of seven.

The usual goal for an orthodontist to start a child’s treatment at an early age is to guide the growth of jawbones and create the optimum environment for the eruption of permanent teeth. This may prevent the development of more serious problems in the future and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.  There are certain issues that are more easily treatable for younger patients since the jaw is still developing. If you wait until they’re older, jaw issues could be much more complicated to fix.

At seven years old, children have begun to lose enough baby teeth for an orthodontist to detect possible issues that may arise with the emergence of adult teeth that could require braces for kids. Additionally, problems such as over-bites, under-bites, and cross-bites become more evident at this stage in development.

At this young of an age, even if there are no issues present, an orthodontist will be able to tell if your child is likely to have issues in the future.  There are many types of misalignment that can be identified by an orthodontist in a young patient:

Traditionally, treatment with dental braces begins when a child has lost most of his or her baby (primary) teeth, and a majority of the adult (permanent) teeth have grown in — usually between the ages of 8 and 14. If treatment is needed during this time, interceptive or preventive care can take advantage of your child’s growth to guide the intended result as development takes place.

Some orthodontists recommend what’s called an interceptive approach, which involves using dental appliances (not always dental braces) at an earlier age, while a child still has mostly baby teeth. Then, when a child has mainly adult teeth, a second phase of treatment is started, usually with dental braces. This second phase is thought by some to be shorter than a traditional course of braces if an early treatment has been done.

Straight teeth and aligned jaws create nice smiles and help keep your teeth healthy. On top of that, when your jaws and teeth are well aligned, it’s easier to chew food. Orthodontic care can even help prevent snoring!  Young or old, it is always the right time to visit an orthodontist.


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