Dr. Matt here. I wanted to write a post today about some questions I get asked a lot: When is my child going to need braces? And if they do need them, when should we start? Those are great questions that you can certainly get conflicting information on depending on who you ask. Wherever you decide to accept this information, it’s important that you are comfortable with and trust the source this information is coming from.
The current train of thought, one that I largely agree with*, is that children should have their first orthodontic screening at the age of 7. By this time they should be well into their transition from baby teeth to more adult teeth. This is a great time to make sure your child’s teeth are on the right track and are going to have a beautiful, healthy smile for the rest of their life.
By having your child screened at the age of 7 by an orthodontist or a dentist with advanced training in orthodontics, we’ll be able to see patterns in your child’s growth that you may not be able to see on your own. We’ll be able to see how the adult teeth are coming in, the timeline of their development, how your child’s jaw is growing, etc. Usually, this process is nothing more than an examination, maybe a few X-rays, and getting a gameplan for the future (if one is even needed at the time). Some children can benefit from early (or “interceptive) treatment which will help resolve urgent issues and will make the second phase of braces much easier down the road. In fact, I’ve had some children that we did an early treatment on, resolved some growth issues, and ended up not even needing treatment later.
Potential problems that we are able to look for and take care of if needed include:
- Impacted Teeth
- Open Bites or Deep Bites
- Receding Gums
- Chipping and Fracturing Teeth
- Jaw alignment issues
By taking care of these issues, we’re taking care of other issues other than just the teeth. We’re helping to improve the appearance of the teeth, which can help alleviate issues such as teasing, mocking, or bullying. A child’s smile can also have a major role in their confidence and well-being as they grow and develop physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. This is all on top of the general health benefits of having straight, stable, healthy teeth.
*If your child grinds their teeth, snores, breathes through their mouth and not their nose, or has other upper airway issues, I recommend being screened by a dentist or orthodontist trained in pediatric airway development as soon as these signs are noticed. I’ve consulted for patients as young as 3 years of age! So while the American Academy of Orthodontist guidelines says seven, for kids with airway issues I highly recommend even younger.
Did this post help you feel like an empowered parent? Do you feel better educated about your child’s growth and development? I’d love to hear about it! Also, if you know others that may benefit from this information, feel free to share it with the buttons below. You can share it via email, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, even LinkedIn!
If you’re looking for a great dental office in Yates Center or the surrounding areas like Burlington, New Strawn, Iola, Chanute, Neodesha, Fredonia, Eureka, or Southeast Kansas in general, we’re happy to accept new patients! You can request an appointment online or give us a call at (620) 400-4811. Or if you have further questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org