We understand that you want your child’s health to be in good shape. Whether it’s improving their diet or helping them stay active, you want to make sure they’re keeping and maintaining good habits starting at a young age. When it comes to oral health, it’s just as much a priority. The last thing you want is to learn that your child needed braces a long time ago and that’s why they need oral surgery to fix a problem today.
When you visit a practice that knows children’s orthodontics, you can stay proactive and protect your child’s oral health for years to come.
When Should My Child Visit the Orthodontist?
According to your dentist, all children should be screened for orthodontics between four and five years of age. This screening does not involve any invasive surgery or placement of brackets and wires. The screening is purely designed to confirm if your child needs to pursue orthodontics treatment.
The reason your dentist performs this screening at such a young age is to stay proactive. The earlier your dentist can evaluate and diagnose problems like improper jaw growth, enlarged tonsils, poor habits (i.e. thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting,) and other problems, the better treatment she can provide.
Furthermore, fixing crooked teeth will make oral hygiene easier, reduce the likelihood of TMJ problems, and reduce the chances of gum disease or tooth decay developing.
What Does the Dentist Check For?
When you bring your child in for a screening, she first checks for the eruption of teeth. They check to see what’s erupted so far and what isn’t to better plan for orthodontic treatment if needed. Most importantly, they check the airway to make sure their breathing correctly. This is known as “airway friendly” orthodontics.
Many parents don’t realize that improper breathing can negatively impact the shape of the upper and lower jaw. This can create problems later in life that may require oral surgery and extraction of teeth, including permanent teeth.
What are My Child’s Options for Orthodontics?
Braces for children are much smaller than they have been in the past, so orthodontic treatment is much easier compared to when you were young. If you’re child needs braces, just know that it’s more common than you think. About 75 percent of 12-year-old children need orthodontic treatment of some kind. This is typically done with traditional braces.
To make this treatment shorter, you may want to consider Phase 1/Pediatric orthodontics. These are worn before any permanent teeth erupt, meaning they straighten baby teeth in preparation for the eruption of permanent ones.
If your child is older, they may also be interested in clear aligners from Invisalign. These are ideal for teens who already have their permanent teeth and don’t want to make dramatic changes to their appearance to get orthodontic treatment.
Have you screened your child yet and confirmed if they need children’s orthodontics? Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to get your child on the right path to straighter and healthier teeth!
About the Author
Dr. Deborah Romack earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Baylor College of Dentistry. Since then, she’s gained over 1,000 hours of continuing education in orthodontics and orthopedics, so your child’s oral future is in good hands. To learn more about the practice, contact her at (817) 594-3806 or visit her website.