While there is no established age for a child to visit an orthodontist, the American Association of Orthodontists and the Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommend taking a child to see an orthodontist before age seven to fix any current issues or to prevent any future problems. Experienced orthodontists suggests that parents take their child to an orthodontist if the child has started a bad habit like thumb sucking or has developed any of the following problems with their teeth or jaw:
Younger patients find that cleaning overlapping teeth is hard, and that they smile less with protruded or crooked teeth. However, not addressing these issues can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and low self-esteem. An orthodontist will properly clean the teeth and possibly suggest Invisalign clear braces or traditional metal braces to adjust the crowding or spacing according to Abougoush Professional Corp., a company that provides greater orthodontics in Calgary. The result is a more pleasing look and healthier gums.
Overbites and Underbites
If your child’s upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by more than 2 mm, he or she will develop problems. Children who have prominent overbites or underbites tend to grind and clench their teeth, complain about headaches, and develop speech problems. Also, overbites and underbites cause the teeth to wear down fast and increase the chances of periodontal disease. An orthodontist will determine whether dental braces are needed to correct an overbite or if an upper jaw expander, fitted chin cap, or reverse pull face mask is needed to fix an underbite. Addressing this problem early on prevents having to undergo dental surgery as an adult.
If left untreated, a misaligned jaw can lead to excruciating headaches and difficulty breathing. Timely treatment in children will reduce gum and bone deterioration, which is the most common cause of tooth loss. An orthodontist may recommend a non-surgical approach and try to fix the problem with braces if the misalignment is not too distinct. However, if it is too severe, an oral surgeon may have to cut the jaw bone and move it into place. An orthodontist is the most qualified person to determine the best treatment.
Some children develop bad habits, such as thumb sucking, grinding of the teeth, or tongue thrusting, which cause the permanent teeth to protrude or become misaligned. If a child’s thumb sucking continues beyond five years old, an overbite will form and the roof of the mouth becomes malformed. Orthodontists can suggest orthodontic appliances that can stop these detrimental habits.
Regular visits to the orthodontist will help correct problems before they start and provide that great smile every child wants. Healthy teeth and an attractive smile can help improve your child’s self-esteem and overall health, as well as reduce the chances of having to see an orthodontist as an adult.