Orthodontic work, such as getting braces, is most often associated with young teens. And while getting orthodontic treatment at this time is fine, your child’s first visit to the orthodontist should be even earlier, so their future needs can be evaluated.
Ideally, the best time to take your child for their first visit to the orthodontist is during their first few years of grade school. At this time, your child should have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth. Joseph Yousefian, DMD, an expert in pediatric orthodontics at Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens, and Adults offers this guide on orthodontia for children.
Why timing matters
Contrary to what some believe, you don’t have to wait until your child has all of their adult teeth to take them on their first visit to the orthodontist. In fact, it’s actually better to do so while they still have some of their baby teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist by age 7.
This allows us to see the alignment of your child’s teeth and visualize how all of their adult teeth will grow in. While your child may not need orthodontic work for a few more years, we can better plan for their treatment if needed.
Furthermore, if your child has an orthodontic problem, treatment may begin prior to them getting braces. For example, if your child’s upper jaw is too narrow, Dr. Yousefian may give them a palate expander to widen their jaw. And in the case of severe crowding, Dr. Yousefian may recommend braces even if some of their baby teeth are still present.
What to expect for the first visit
With your first visit, Dr. Yousefian will get acquainted with you and your child. Furthermore, Dr. Yousefian will examine your child’s mouth for signs that orthodontic problems could occur as your child grows.
Dr. Yousefian may also take impressions of your child’s mouth and perform tests to see your child’s bite and evaluate the shape of their mouth. This will show him the structure of their mouth and state of their teeth. The process should be painless, and you’re welcome to stay in the exam room with your child.
After Dr. Yousefian examines your child, he’ll be able to tell you about any predicted needs for orthodontic work as well as an expected timeline for when it should take place.
Signs that your child may need orthodontic care
The following are some signs that your child may need orthodontic care at some point:
- Has difficulty with chewing
- Has trouble breathing out of their mouth
- Has or had a thumb-sucking habit
- Has a gap between any of their teeth
- Has a misaligned bite
- Has crooked or crowded teeth
When it comes to orthodontic care, it’s always better to see an orthodontist earlier rather than later. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens, and Adults today.