While regular brushing and flossing can help prevent cavities and gum disease, even children with the most adept dental hygiene habits may need to make a trip to the orthodontist for braces or aligners. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, there are approximately 4 million Americans currently wearing braces, 75% of whom are children…
What Age Should My Child See an Orthodontist?
An early visit to the orthodontist can stop teeth alignment issues before they turn into something more serious. A beautiful smile occasionally requires a bit of work. Crooked teeth will often make you feel self-conscious and avoid smiling. Many parents wonder when it is time for their child to see an orthodontist –– a dentist that specializes in straightening teeth.
It is advisable to take a child to see an orthodontist by the age of 7 so that problems in the developing jaw can be spotted and dealt with early. Children who have these issues are more likely to suffer tooth decay, loss of teeth and even periodontitis. Crooked teeth and teeth that overlap are challenging to clean properly. Food bits stuck between teeth and bits of sugary foods cause a buildup of plaque bacteria which produces acids. These acids will cause tooth decay and cavities.
When to see an orthodontist
Here are simple things parents can do to tackle orthodontic issues their child may be dealing with:
1. Look out for teasing
Crooked teeth can result in children becoming subjected to teasing at school. This may lower a child's self-esteem, so if the problems with the child’s teeth are causing them to get teased in school, it may be a good time to visit an orthodontist. If left untreated, crooked teeth, apart from putting the child at risk of tooth decay and other issues, will affect their self-image. They may become less willing to socialize as that means talking and exposing their crooked teeth. Treatment of such problems in children can be done between the ages of 8 and 14 years.
2. Crowded teeth
Another thing to consider is whether the child’s front teeth look crowded, which becomes evident by the age of 8. If this is the case, set up an appointment with an orthodontist. Crooked front teeth are a sign that there is not enough room for the teeth on the jaw. It is possible to get advice and treatment early when the jaw is still young. The older one gets, the harder the jaw bones become as they set.
4. Teeth that poke out
Parents should consider taking their child to see an orthodontist if their front teeth are protruding. Sometimes one finds that the child cannot properly close their mouth because the teeth in their upper jaw are poking out. This is an indicator that the child needs some corrective help. The orthodontist may employ dental appliances such as braces to correct the problem. Children can have braces put in as early as 12 years old.
Braces have evolved a lot, and the more modern ones are much more appealing to children and teens. They can be customized to reflect a child's favorite cartoon characters or sports teams.
We are here to help
If you have noticed any of the above in your child, it is time to have them see an orthodontist. A beautiful smile goes beyond making them look good; it also makes them feel better about themselves. Addressing orthodontic issues improves their confidence and overall health.
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