While most specialists suggest that a child makes their first visit to the dentist when their teeth begin to erupt, many parents are unsure of when is the correct time to schedule an appointment with the orthodontist. Orthodontic visits can be very important when it comes to a healthy and attractive smile, and all parents should understand a few of the options that these specialists can provide in order to create lifetime of flawless oral health.
When to Schedule an Appointment
Many parents will put off their child’s first orthodontist trip until their kids are 10 or older, but it is ideal to bring children in at a younger age. Orthodontists often suggest that parents make their first appointment at 7 years of age, and this is the official recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists. Children may not receive any treatments whatsoever during these first few visits, but catching signs of any oral health or cosmetic issues early is beneficial. Unlike dentists that care for the entirety of the mouth, the orthodontist focuses on the child’s teeth and jaws.
What to Expect
A trip to the orthodontist begins much like any other trip to the dentist. The doctor or technician will take x-rays of the teeth and jaws in order to get a close look at how they are developing. They may also use a moldable impression that fits over the teeth. Once the impression is taken off, there will be a perfect imprint of the child’s teeth. After a visual inspection, the orthodontist can then decide if the child needs any treatments and when the best time for the treatment may be. Depending on the positions of the teeth and growth of the jaws, the child may not need any corrective services until their adult teeth have further developed.
Orthodontists and Oral Health
Options such as braces, retainers, and straightening trays are about much more than a straight and balanced smile. Those that suffer from malocclusion or a misaligned smile and do not have it treated could be setting themselves up for severe health issues throughout their lives. Many of these conditions are created by habits developed by the child, such as thumb sucking or grinding their teeth, but they may also be purely genetic. When left untreated, the child could suffer from sleep apnea, an increased risk of oral diseases, impacted teeth, or damage to their jaw.
By scheduling appointments with one’s orthodontist early and regularly, parents could help their children avoid a lifetime of serious oral health conditions and enjoy a naturally beautiful and straight smile.
Read here to learn about the benefits of children and parents receiving orthodontic treatment together.