You might wonder if it’s ever too early to seek orthodontic care for your child. You may even think that there’s no need to rush; you can always seek orthodontic care later.
However, there are several good reasons to get early pediatric orthodontic care. In this blog, Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian of Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults in Bellevue, Washington, explains when you should make a pediatric orthodontic appointment.
When to see an orthodontist
The general recommendation for when to see an orthodontist is around age 7. It is especially important to seek orthodontic advice if your child has an improper bite, facial asymmetry, or sounds in the jaw.
Why it’s important to seek orthodontic help
One reason it’s important to seek a consultation with an orthodontist is because we can often address problems in advance. A consultation with an orthodontist includes a full evaluation, including a set of X-rays.
From these X-rays, Dr. Yousefian can detect problems that may affect jaw growth and development, such as whether your child’s jaw has enough room to support adult teeth.
Many orthodontic problems are more easily addressed — with less discomfort involved — before they become apparent.
Other benefits of early orthodontic treatment include:
- Improved facial symmetry
- Limited trauma to protruding front teeth
- Identifying possible problems, such as thumb-sucking
- Reduced need for jaw surgery or tooth removal
- Less treatment time with braces
The problems with delaying orthodontic treatment
If you wait to get orthodontic treatment until your child is older, you may end up causing more dental trauma for your child. The treatments are generally less painful when your child is younger and are often done for a shorter period of time.
In addition, depending on the particular needs of your child’s orthodontic work, they also may be at greater risk of developing cavities if you delay treatment. If your child’s teeth are crowded, they may have difficulty cleaning and flossing between them, putting them at risk of getting cavities (also called dental caries.)
What to expect from your child’s first orthodontic treatment
Your child may feel a bit nervous about the first time they meet the orthodontist. But this is only because it’s a new experience, and you can do a lot to reassure them about their worries.
Explain that the orthodontist is like a dentist but with extra training. Let them know that the first visit is usually just a consultation and an opportunity for them to get to know each other. They will also likely receive X-rays and may have impressions taken of their mouth (like a mold of their teeth.)
If Dr. Yousefian decides that your child needs treatment, they might need a palate expander, clear aligners, retainers, or other options.
Your child may want to know if their future treatments will hurt. While you don’t want to scare them, it’s important to be honest that it might hurt a bit. However, you can also remind them that they can take over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol® (acetaminophen) or Motrin® (ibuprofen.)
You can also promise to do a fun activity together after visiting the orthodontist, like going to the park.
If you want to have an orthodontic evaluation for your child, it’s probably not too early. Contact Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian of Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults, or request an appointment online.