Kids Orthodontics Reading, MA
Orthodontics for Kids — What Time is the Right Time?
At our practice, each child is evaluated as an individual to determine the proper time to begin orthodontic treatment. While there is no one specific time that is right for everyone, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit the orthodontist around the age of 7.
At this stage in their growth and development, most children have both baby and adult teeth — a mix that makes it easier for an orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw issues earlier and without resorting to surgery.
What Causes Crooked Teeth in Children?
One of the main causes of crooked teeth is one that you can’t control — genetics. If you or your partner has had braces, chances are your children may need them, too. However, there are other factors that can lead to misalignment of teeth in children, including:
- Extended periods of thumb-sucking
- Extended use of a pacifier
- Accidents or injuries to the mouth
Even if your child is not exhibiting any of these issues, it is smart to get them evaluated by an orthodontist experienced in children’s growth and development to ensure their teeth are emerging with proper alignment.
Why Is it Important to Get an Early Evaluation for My Child’s Teeth?
With the amount of peer pressure on today’s children, it is important to understand how crooked or misaligned teeth can affect your child’s self-esteem. Children who dislike the appearance of their teeth can resist smiling, withdrawing from social contact and potentially alienating themselves from peers. Misaligned teeth can also interfere with speech patterns, make it more difficult for children to make themselves understood, and even interfere with the learning process.
Crooked teeth can also represent a hygiene problem, particularly for young children. Poor oral hygiene can result in increased instances of tooth decay, issues with gums, and additional dental issues.
Early orthodontic intervention, performed at the correct time in your child’s development, can help relieve these issues and help your child be more comfortable — and confident — as they grow.
Conditions Improved by Early Orthodontic Intervention
Having your child examined by a knowledgeable orthodontic specialist will determine if your child needs intervention — and pinpoint the correct time to begin treatment. Typically, early treatment of orthodontic issues can help resolve:
- Habits such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and lip biting
- Speech and psychological issues due to malposition of teeth
- Sleep apnea
- Excessive spacing of teeth
- Unfavorable sequence of eruption of teeth
- Anterior/posterior crossbites
- Anterior open bite or the opposite (a deep, impinging bite)
- Excessive overjet of upper incisors (buck teeth)
- Moderate to severe tooth crowding
In addition, early assessment can help avoid the cost and trauma of future surgeries by facilitating the eruption of impacted teeth.
Why Your Child Should Visit an Orthodontist
Children experience more movement of teeth than any other age, due in part to the transition from baby to adult teeth. Seeing an orthodontist early on can help correct improper tooth alignment to promote better oral health, allow natural and unimpeded chewing function, and contribute to clearer speech. In addition, a beautiful smile that brings the teeth into proportion with lips and face can have an enduring impact on a child’s emotional and psychological health.
If your child is ready to experience the confidence of a beautiful new smile, contact our office at (781) 358-8191 to make an appointment for a consultation today!