When Should my Child See an Orthodontist?
There’s no doubt that we all want the best for our children. Seeing our children grow is one of life’s greatest joys, and our natural instincts are to protect, teach, and ultimately prepare our children for adulthood. Self-image and confidence are two very important factors in a child’s development which are strongly influenced by their appearance. Having the confidence to laugh and smile freely is vital to their self-image, so many adult patients ask their orthodontists at what age their child should have an evaluation?
The old saying ‘prevention is the best medicine’ is particularly true with children’s teeth. To prevent problems with your child’s teeth down the track, it’s crucial that they establish a regular, hygienic routine with their oral care from an early age. Without it, problems such as plaque build-up can cause ongoing problems with cavities and even gum disease. So, at what age should your child have an orthodontist evaluation?
The Australian Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic evaluation no later than seven years old. Why so young you may be asking? As you can imagine, not every orthodontic problem can be treated at this age, however most problems can be identified which allows your orthodontist to create a plan that minimises any issues they’re likely to encounter in the future.
Tooth loss & eruption
Most children lose their primary teeth in a specific order which means that deviations can be a sign that a child may develop issues down the track. For example, children will generally lose their first eight primary teeth between the ages of six and eight which are subsequently replaced by eight permanent incisors. At this stage, orthodontists can check to see if there are more or less teeth than normal to determine if there will be any issues with crowding, missing, or extra teeth. In some cases, removing a primary tooth early or maintaining a space where a tooth has been lost prematurely can prevent bigger problems in the future.
Alignment issues should be addressed at an early age even though teeth can be aligned in their teenage and adult years if necessary. Crooked teeth are more vulnerable to damage from trauma (such as sports) which can change the position of gum tissues and create supplementary problems. In addition to this, crooked teeth can impact a child’s self-esteem and confidence which should ideally be dealt with as soon as possible.
But, what if my child’s teeth are straight?
Even if your child’s teeth look straight, there may be other problems that need to be addressed such as the way their permanent teeth erupt, a misaligned bite, tooth crowding, the relationship between the upper and lower jaw, and other problems such as speech impediments, teeth grinding, or if they suck their thumbs. By the age of seven, orthodontists can identify these issues and start correcting them to minimise any problems with their adult teeth. At the very least, you’ll have the peace of mind that early detection and treatment options have paved the path for your child to have minimal teeth problems now and into the future.
It’s always advisable for your child to have an orthodontic evaluation at the age of seven. Gaining insight into the condition of your children’s teeth allows your orthodontist to plan interceptive treatment that can make the end results faster, better, and give your children several extra years of wearing a fantastic smile at an age when their self-image is developing.
Clear Smiles Orthodontics is the Gold Coast’s leading orthodontic clinic that specialise in early detection along with the latest orthodontic technology such as Invisalign and AcceleDent. If you’d like to book an appointment for your child’s orthodontic evaluation, phone the staff at Clear Smiles Orthodontics on 07 5593 3373.