As parents, our kids dental health is just one of the daily concerns that we have to face. After all the brushing, flossing and attending dental appointments, it can be overwhelming to find out your young child needs an orthodontist visit as well. If your dentist has advised you to seek the help of an orthodontist, you might be wondering if your child is too young for braces.
At age 7, the permanent teeth have begun to come in and this is the time that the American Association of Orthodontics suggests all kids should get an orthodontic screening. Because the first permanent molars begin to erupt at around this age, a screening at that point will show any potential problems with over bite, open bite, teeth crowding, under bite or cross bite, which could require braces to correct. Early interventions can help by creating room for the teeth which will be coming in and reducing the need for extractions down the road. Also, since tooth alignment problems can affect how the jaw and face grow, getting these things fixed early can give your child a more symmetrical facial structure as an adult.
When it’s Not Just Cosmetic
Obviously minor toot straightening procedures for minor kid’s dental issues can wait until they are older. But there are some problems that should be addressed immediately. Severe crowding of the teeth makes it difficult to floss and brush in the crevices, causing increased buildup of plaque and cavity-causing bacteria which will lead to greater decay. Severe bite problems such as cross bite can eventually case severe gum damage as the child tries to eat and is unable to chew properly. In these cases, the long term benefits of getting orthodontic procedures on your young child will outweigh the initial sticker shock and discomfort to your child involved with an orthodontic procedure.
Most Will Still Need Later Treatment
It is a legitimate concern that if you expose your child to orthodontic treatment at the tender age of 7, it would be undesirable for them to have to have additional treatment later on. The reality is that most that get early intervention treatments will still need some sort of treatment later on. But the advantages lie in the reduced length of treatment and the possible avoidance of painful extractions. These are going to be risks and benefits that you should weight with the help of your kids dental professionals.
Ousama El-Hillal, referred to as Dr. O by patients, staff and friends is an Orthodontist at E&S Orthodontics. He founded E&S Orthodontics with Dr. Saavedra in 2004. He is driven to create Wide Beautiful Smiles Without Extractions.