While most parents know the importance of taking their child to the dentist, many do not know about the need to take a child to the orthodontist at a certain age. This article will tell parents at what age they should take their children to the orthodontist, as well as what to expect when the time for the appointment arrives.
What's the Difference Between an Orthodontist and a Regular Dentist?
Orthodontics is a dental field that deals specifically with diagnosing and treating malocclusion, which literally means bad bite. Orthodontists do this by studying the facial growth and development of their patients.
At What Age Should Children First See an Orthodontist?
According to the American Academy of Orthodontists, parents should have their children see an orthodontist at the age of seven. There are two reasons why this is the case. The first is that the difference in tooth development between children varies considerably. At this time, an orthodontist will be able to tell if your child's mouth will have enough room to accommodate the incoming permanent teeth.
The second reason is that many dental conditions are easily treatable if caught at an early age. Some of the conditions that an orthodontist can successfully treat include the loss of your child's baby teeth on an abnormal timetable, mouth breathing, thrusting of the tongue, thumb sucking, and cross bite, which is a dental malady in which your child's upper teeth closes within their lower teeth.
Can This Examination Be Done by a General Pediatric Dentist?
According to the Coquitlam Centre Dental Clinic, while a general dentist can spot problems with your child's emerging teeth and jaw growth, parents should still take their child to an orthodontist. Orthodontists are trained to effectively treat such malocclusion issues as abnormal jaw growth, overbites or crowded teeth.
When Should Children Start Orthodontic Treatment?
Even though the American Academy of Orthodontists recommends that parents take their child to the orthodontist at the age of seven, this does not mean that orthodontic treatment, if needed, needs to start that early. In the vast majority of cases, children do not start orthodontic treatment until they are between the ages of 9 and 14.
If parents of a child with orthodontic issues do not take care of them by the time the child is in their early teens, the same issues could be difficult to impossible to correct in adulthood. A visit with a board-certified orthodontist now can keep your child from debilitating dental issues that can affect their self-image and overall health as an adult.