When should your child see an orthodontist?
While an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time to start treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should happen at the first sign of orthodontic problems, around seven years old.
By this age, the first adult molars come through and establish the back bite. Your child may not need braces at this time, but monitoring their development can anticipate the most beneficial time to begin future treatment.
Benefits of Early Treatment:
- Creating room for crowded teeth that are coming in
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for adult teeth
- Eliminating excessive need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces
Early treatment can help prevent serious dental issues in your child’s tooth development down the road. Your child’s first orthodontic visit can help identify common problems such as crowded teeth, tooth or jaw misalignment, and establish a plan for future corrective procedures. By taking actions towards looking out for children's oral health early on, parents can plan with confidence!
When it’s Time to Make an Appointment:
Braces are not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontics is also used to correct several functional issues that can affect the way we chew, breath, speak and clean our teeth. Fortunately, there are many symptoms that parents can look for to help determine if their child should see an orthodontist.
Some early signs that a child may need orthodontic intervention:
- Difficulty chewing or biting food
- Protruding front teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Difficulty brushing or flossing teeth properly
- Uneven tooth wear
- Tongue-thrusting habits or speech impediments
- Jaw misalignment
- Bad bite
Parents, be sure to visit an orthodontist if your child is displaying any of the signs listed above, or before their seventh birthday. Malocclusions, or bad bites are the result of tooth or jaw misalignment. According to the AAO, untreated malocclusions can lead to a variety of health conditions, such as tooth decay or gum disease. Early orthodontic treatment can detect and correct issues like this, preventing serious problems later.
What to Expect Your Child's First Visit
For your child’s first visit, our highly-experienced orthodontic team will do a full oral exam. We look for any abnormalities that could affect your child’s smile, bite, and overall health. We can then begin preventative treatment to correct these issues and avoid future complications.
If orthodontic intervention isn't immediately necessary, Dr. McIntosh will continue to carefully monitor your child’s growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal. Early treatment ensures the greatest results and the least amount of time and expense later.
Early treatment can help ensure a beautiful smile—and creates a healthier future for your child.
The sooner we can evaluate your child’s smile and oral health, the better. To make an appointment with Dr. McIntosh at one of our offices, visit our scheduling page! We are proud to serve patients in the Orlando area, including Maitland and Winter Park.