If your child's teeth are crooked or if you have concerns about their bite, you'll need to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist. However, you may wonder when you should schedule your child's first orthodontist appointment.
While some dental professionals approve forgoing orthodontic care until a child has all their permanent teeth, others recommend taking children at a young age (around 6 or 7). Here are a few reasons in favor of early orthodontic care.
1. Treatments Are Available for Children Who Are Still Growing
It's a misconception that there's nothing an orthodontist can do to address your child's dental woes until they have all of their adult teeth. There are some treatment alternatives that are only used when a child's mouth is still growing.
For example, a palatal expander widens the upper jaw and works to reduce crowding in the child's mouth. However, for optimal effectiveness, it needs to be installed while the child's mouth is growing. As the child's mouth gets bigger, the components that make up the mouth's growth plate are stretched, allowing for the formation of new bone as the child grows.
Or, if your child has crowded baby teeth, removing one or more of these teeth can permit their permanent teeth to grow in with the appropriate amount of space.
2. Early Orthodontic Care Can Minimize the Need for Later Interventions
Depending on the cause of your child's dental woes, seeking care at a young age can reduce the need for interventions when your child is older. Not only can this reduce the amount of time that your child has to wear braces, but it can help you lower the expenses associated with your child's orthodontic care.
Removing baby teeth so that adult teeth have more room to grow in may prevent your child from having to wear braces as a teen or young adult (or reduce the amount of time they have to wear them). Treatment completed when the child's mouth is still growing may be less invasive and more affordable than interventions when the child is older.
3. You Can Enhance Your Child's Overall Dental Health
While some orthodontic problems are mainly cosmetic, others impact the overall wellbeing of your child's mouth. For example, if your child's teeth are crowded, waiting until your child has all their adult teeth will result in a crowded mouth that makes it more difficult for your child to properly brush and floss. This can lead to the formation of plaque and increase their risk of getting a cavity.