There are plenty of benefits to early orthodontic treatment.
Still, there is such a thing as too early. While most kids see a dentist by 12 months of age – within six months of the first tooth coming in – they don’t usually need to see an orthodontist until much later. How much? Well, that really depends!
Orthodontic care is crucial to oral health, but an orthodontist can only help once teeth start coming in. A child doesn’t need to have all of their adult teeth yet, but it takes more than a few before an orthodontist can tell if any problems are brewing. And sometimes, everything is going just right.
That said, it’s vital not to wait too long!
Orthodontics can help with oral health at any age, but it’s always easier when you get started sooner. For some young patients, two-phase treatment starts while they still have most or even all of their baby teeth. Correcting these teeth makes it easier for adult teeth to come in safely and comfortably.
Here’s what to look out for to know when it’s time to see a Port Orange orthodontist.
1. Your Child Has Difficulty Eating or Chewing
Sound oral health is all about helping you do things you do every day, like talking and eating. You might notice signs that your child is having worries, but whether they can tell you exactly what’s going on depends on age.
One thing to keep a close eye out for is any trouble eating. Difficulty with eating can come from a variety of different issues, and some children are just “picky” early on. But if you watch carefully, you might notice the telltale signs that something is going on with a child’s jaw, mouth, or teeth.
In particular, kids who avoid crunchy or hard foods might be experiencing discomfort when they chew. This isn’t always caused by the teeth but can be a sign of a developing overbite, underbite, or cross-bite. In severe cases, this can put pressure on facial muscles and nerves that cause pain while chewing.
Kids facing this problem might also have difficulty with foods you have to pull, like pizza, taffy, and pasta.
2. Your Child Lost At Least One Baby Tooth Early
Most kids start losing their first teeth around the age of five. It’s very unusual for kids to lose teeth earlier than that, and you should consult with your family physician as part of finding out the underlying cause. But what happens when you know what the cause is, such as a fall or other accident?
Unfortunately, losing baby teeth early due to physical trauma can turn into a big deal!
If a child loses a baby tooth more than a few weeks earlier than scheduled, some surrounding teeth may drift toward the open space. That means the “adult tooth” coming in could be impacted – and that is one of the worst things that can happen for a kid’s oral health.
An impacted tooth is unable to fully enter its expected position because of misalignment or a lack of space. This can be very painful, and it might also affect the alignment of other teeth in the mouth. Luckily, an orthodontist can help with orthodontic appliances that help maintain the space until the new tooth arrives.
3. Your Child Just Turned Seven! Hooray!
If none of those other signs apply to you, congratulations!
Around your child’s seventh birthday, take time to visit a Port Orange orthodontist you can trust.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, age seven is the perfect time for most kids to start seeing an orthodontist. They’re just old enough so that an experienced Port Orange orthodontist can spot developing conditions – and young enough so that they get the best results from starting treatment.
The most common orthodontic treatment is braces, but kids at seven won’t be doing that just yet. Instead, they might need other, less intensive treatments. Metal braces become an option around age nine for kids who need them. The youngest patients tend to get the fastest results, even though you can benefit at any age.
For that all-important first orthodontist trip, you need a family orthodontist who understands kids!
At Beauchamp Orthodontics, our practice has been built from the ground up to be kid-friendly. We never overwhelm them or talk down to them. And we have plenty of little ways to make sure things stay fun – giveaways, birthday surprises, colored bands on braces, and much more.
Schedule your consultation today to get started!