If you’ve noticed your child has crowding, spacing, or other alignment issues, you’re probably wondering if it’s a good time to start seeing an orthodontist. Maybe your dentist recommended that you make an appointment, but you’re afraid your child is still too young. I get this question a lot, so I thought I would address it here in the blog.
Generally, we prefer to see children for the first time no later than age 7. This is also when the The American Association of Orthodontists recommends your child have their first orthodontic examination. This might seem young, but there are several important reasons why we prefer to see children before they lose all of their baby teeth. Let’s go over a few of the biggest reasons.
We Can Check for Underlying Problems
When your child starts seeing and orthodontist before all of their adult teeth have come in, we have a chance to look for any underlying problems. This allows us to start early intervention, also referred to as Phase I intervention.
Even if your child’s baby teeth look straight, their adult teeth may not necessarily come in straight. This is something many parents don’t realize. Crowding is a common issue that can easily be addressed with jaw expansion even before it becomes visible. Addressing this early can make some aspects of treatment easier and more predictable.
Another common issue we see is baby teeth that don’t fall out on their own. There are many reasons baby teeth don’t fall out “on schedule.” We can step in and address this before it impacts the development of the other teeth.
Another huge benefit of early intervention is the fact that we are often able to address any issues we see with treatments that are specifically designed for younger children.
For example, if your child has spacing, crowding, or alignment issues, they may be a great candidate for Invisalign® First. These are clear aligners that are designed specifically for children. They are comfortable and removable, making it easier for younger children to brush and floss correctly.
Avoid Bigger Issues Later On
The biggest benefit of seeing an orthodontist when your child is young has to do with prevention. Early intervention can help your child avoid bigger issues down the road. In our opinion, prevention is the key to a healthy smile.
For example, if we can address crowding issues early, there’s a good chance we can eliminate the need for permanent tooth extraction later. Addressing alignment issues at an early age can reduce the amount of time your child will need to wear braces in Phase II once all their permanent teeth come in.
Sometimes, there can be slight facial asymmetry as baby teeth grow and adult teeth come in. We will check for this during your child’s first orthodontist appointment. If we are able to detect facial asymmetry, we can influence the way the jaw develops and correct the issue without the need for surgery.
Come See Us!
Most children we see are not going to require Phase I treatments. Even still, it’s a good idea to set up an appointment with an orthodontist like Love My Smile Chicago just to be on the safe side. We are happy to provide a free initial consultation and free periodic monitoring for children. We will also work with you to come up with a treatment option that you feel good about.
At the end of the day, whether you’re 7 or 70, we want to make sure you love your smile. Contact us if you would like to go ahead and set up your free consultation today. We can’t wait to see you!
This article was checked before publication by Dr. Kitt Stevens. Dr. Kitt is dedicated to providing honest, authentic, and transparent information about orthodontics because she believes every patient who walks through her door deserves the absolute best care possible.