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When Does a Child Need Early Orthodontic Treatment?
You may have been thinking about early orthodontic treatment for your child. Now could be the right opportunity to talk to a family dentist. Childhood is a good time to repair dysfunctions of the mouth. Many parents have questions about when to start their kids in braces or aligners. Learn how to manage your child’s orthodontic needs.
Family dentists have the knowledge and training that parents can feel good about. From a young age, treatments such as metal braces can help straighten teeth. Braces can also fill gaps or make more room in a crowded mouth. Spacers and retainers may also prepare a child’s mouth for later intervention. Clear aligners are also an option, though family dentists do not recommend these for early orthodontic treatment. Aligners are most effective for teens and adults.
First meetings with the family dentist
From the time a child first gets teeth (usually age 1), regular visits to the dentist’s office are vital. Orthodontic work does not have to be too far behind. Dental X-rays and examinations can reveal issues with teeth alignment. Professionals recommend that kids begin at age 6 or 7 to visit the family dentist. Even if the child has a mouthful of baby teeth, the family dentist can spot problems. These may include jaw growth and development, among other concerns.
At early orthodontic treatment meetings, the family dentist will check the child’s bite. The family dentist can begin planning ways to improve the child’s teeth position. At these visits, the family dentist and parents can discuss possibilities to correct conditions. These occasions could be good chances to establish proper oral health care as well.
When to start early orthodontic treatment
Every child has different needs, so treatment will begin at different times for everyone. Children who have serious bite problems or no room for emerging permanent teeth can get braces as early as age 8. This approach can correct the issues before they get worse and cause pain and discomfort. Children this young may not need braces yet, but the family dentist may use another appliance such as a retainer.
For mild or moderate cases
Not all children need early orthodontic treatment at this young age. If there is enough room in the child’s mouth for permanent teeth and if the jaw is developing properly, the family dentist may hold off until the child has lost all baby teeth. This usually occurs around age 14. By this time, braces or aligners may be appropriate to straighten teeth or fix problems, such as crossbites, overbites or underbites.
Consult the family dentist
As a parent, you want your child to have good oral health. It is also important for your son or daughter to feel good about their appearance. With early orthodontic treatment, you can accomplish these needs before your child enters the post-elementary school stage of life. Deciding how young to start going to the family dentist does not have to be guesswork. Follow these guidelines and talk to a dentist near you about what makes the most sense for your child.
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