At what age should your child be seen by an orthodontist for their first consultation?
As a parent, you may recall that you didn’t meet your orthodontist before your teens, however, nowadays children benefit from seeing an orthodontist much earlier on and in some cases initial treatment. There is a lot an orthodontist can tell from examining a child before the age of 10.
Orthodontics Australia and most orthodontists agree that seeing a child between the ago of 7 and 10 is ideal. To some parents, it might seem like an impossible task to look in a child’s mouth containing a mix of baby and adult teeth and accurately tell if they need orthodontic treatment now or in the future. But a child’s teeth and jaw can give an experienced orthodontist all the information they need to determine if are likely to have any issues as adults. A child’s occlusion (bite) is apparent from the age of two. An orthodontist can tell you if your child has an under or overbite and the level of severity.
But don’t worry – if your child is over the age of 10, it’s never too late for their first orthodontic consultation. Remember we treat older children and adults all the time.
Why should we see your child between the ages of 7 – 10?
1. Address damage originating from harmful habits
If your child sucked, or still sucks, his or her thumb, the upper teeth may protrude while the lower ones will tip back. This habit can affect the development of their upper palate and consequently, how their teeth come in. Fortunately, an orthodontist can help rectify those habits.
2. Direct Tooth Eruption
When the orthodontist takes x-rays, he can view your child’s unerupted teeth and their position beneath the gum line. If it seems that the teeth lack room to come in or they will erupt at odd angles, a suitable treatment plan will generate the right environment for an eruption. This can have a considerable impact on future treatment and overall outcomes. Seven is the best age to see an orthodontist as this will give the orthodontist time to view the teeth before they emerge.
When sufficient space is created, there’s a high likelihood the orthodontist won’t need to extract the permanent teeth.
3. Make Space for Crowded Teeth
Crowded teeth can arise due to jaws that aren’t big enough to accommodate new teeth. These could be permanent teeth or extremely big teeth, due to the premature loss of baby teeth.
When your child loses a primary tooth early because of decay or injury, the neighbouring teeth will tend to fill in that space. This could hinder the proper eruption of the permanent tooth and cause crowding. Depending on the extent of space loss, the orthodontist could simply wait and observe. Or, they may use appliances to hold or regain space.