At what age should you begin orthodontic care for your child?
Why should I consider Orthodontic care for my child?
Seeking orthodontic care for your child is a personal decision. Some parents are very concerned with the aesthetics of the child’s mouth, while others a comfortable with some spacing or crowded teeth. Many children live with overbites or other alignment issues without the parents feeling the need to seek out orthodontic treatment. Some people feel that orthodontic treatment is considered to be a cosmetic and an optional treatment, thus it is not sought out by parents as a result.
Unlike strictly cosmetic procedures, orthodontic care has long-term medical benefits on your dental health. Teeth that are properly aligned allow proper brushing and flossing, and reduce the opportunity for bacteria and tooth decay to develop. Misaligned bites cause chewing and speech difficulties. Finally, misaligned teeth cause additional wear on tooth surfaces.
When to begin treatment?
It is quite common for parents to be confused over when to begin orthodontic treatment for their child. The opinions differ among orthodontists as well. Depending on the patient’s condition, the best age to consider orthodontic treatment will vary. Orthodontic treatment corrects overcrowding, underbite, overbite and crossbite. Depending on the age of the child, growth milestones, and the timing that the orthodontist is brought into the equation, the treatment may begin at a very young age. Inversely, children who start too early with treatment can end up needing a second phase of treatment in their teenage years.
Class II malocclusion, commonly known as overbite or buck teeth, is best treated in the adolescent and teen years. Early treatment is recommended for Class III malocclusion, commonly referred to as underbite to align and influence growth patterns of the jaw. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, most orthodontic treatment programs typically begin around 9 years old. The average patient’s treatment plan lasts from 1 to 3 years.
How is a parent to know?
The best way to assess your child’s individual situation is to begin a relationship with a dentist or orthodontist at the first signs of any abnormality or misalignment. Regular orthodontic checkups will allow your child’s condition to be assessed over time, which allows the orthodontist to make an informed decision about the necessary treatment. Regular visits to the orthodontist also enable treatments to be scheduled around growth spurts or certain milestones.
Unsure of how to proceed? Then make an appointment with a dentist who does orthodontics or an orthodontist. Have your child assessed and ask questions about recommended treatments. Once you take the first step, the rest is easy.
This newsletter/website is not intended to replace the services of a doctor. It does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Information in this newsletter/website is for informational purposes only & is not a substitute for professional advice. Please do not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating any condition.