If you’re waiting until teenage years to take your child to an orthodontist, you may want to reconsider. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, seven is the ideal age for an evaluation in order to monitor how a child’s jaws and teeth are developing. When we see a child in our office at a young age, we’re able to determine whether the following potential problems exist, and how to correct them.
Without enough room in the mouth, permanent teeth have trouble coming in where they should. This could result in them coming in at an angle, overlapping, or even staying in the gums if there’s nowhere for them to go – and that can be painful. By placing spacers in those crowded areas, orthodontists can guide teeth into a position that will shorten orthodontic treatment time later.
After the age of two or three, thumb sucking or tongue thrusting can cause front teeth to protrude, making them susceptible to damage. Either habit can also lead to improper growth of the jaw and misalignment of the teeth which can cause speech problems. We can discuss natural ways to break these habits while children are young and, if necessary, place habit-breaking appliances in the mouth.
If a child has a jaw misalignment such as an overbite, underbite or crossbite, it can cause chewing and even breathing issues. We can guide the jaw into place as it grows to reduce the chance for surgery later on.
Missing Teeth and Eruption Issues
Even if your child’s teeth look perfect on the outside, there may be underlying issues you don’t see. By taking X-rays and looking at digital images in the office, our orthodontists can tell where permanent teeth are missing or which teeth may never come in on their own, and then develop a plan to address the issue.
Being able to detect oral development issues early is important for preventing major problems, but another reason we love to see young patients is to get to know them better – and for them to get to know us. When kids feel comfortable as they begin orthodontic treatment, it makes the whole process easier. Schedule an appointment today with our Portage orthodontist to introduce us to your child. We can’t wait to meet you both!