When Should Children See An Orthodontist For The First Time

While a dentist works hard to make sure you and your family members have healthy teeth and gums, there are a variety of specialty treatments that are handled by different dental professionals. One of the most common dental appointments you will need to make for your kids is an orthodontist consultation. Orthodontists provide treatments to help realign teeth. This can be important for both functional and cosmetic reasons. Teeth alignment affects how we speak, how we chew, how pressure is placed on the jaw, and can also impact how difficult it is to brush and floss. it is recommended that children see an orthodontist when either they start getting their adult teeth, their dentist recommends and orthodontic consultation, or when they are starting to have issues with crowding, gaps, or other orthodontic issues. 

At What Age Should I Schedule An Orthodontic Appointment

When kids are around seven years old they will enter one of the most important periods of their oral health. Around ages 6-10 your children will be transitioning from their primary teeth (baby teeth) to adult teeth. During this time it is recommended to talk to their dentists about orthodontic consultations. Ideally, your child’s baby teeth will create pathways for the adult teeth to erupt and replace them. But there can be issues with teeth not coming in, teeth coming in behind the baby teeth, crooked/twisted teeth, overlapping teeth, or other orthodontic problems. Seeing and orthodontist early can help address these problems quickly. 

Common Orthodontic Issues To Look Out For

Another thing to be on the lookout for are common orthodontic issues for your children including: 

Adult Teeth Erupting Behind Baby Teeth (Shark Teeth)

Sometimes when a baby tooth doesn’t leave the mouth soon enough, an adult tooth is forced to erupt behind that tooth. This is sometimes referred to as “shark teeth” because of how sharks naturally have multiple rows of teeth. When this happens, you should talk to a dentist or orthodontist. The baby teeth might need to be extracted so that the adult teeth will have room to properly grow in.

When teeth overlap or are crooked it is usually because there are issues with crowding. Because baby teeth do not all fall out at once, and adult teeth come-in at different times, there might not be enough space for all the adult teeth. Crooked teeth and overlapping teeth are difficult to brush and floss and the crevices between teeth can be extremely vulnerable to bacterial growth that lead to cavities and gum disease. 

Other common concerns are misalignments in your child’s bite. An overbite happens when the top teeth stick out in front of the bottom teeth. While most people tend to have a natural overbite, a pronounced overbite can lead to issues with talking, chewing, jaw pain, and tooth decay. An underbite is less common but can still happen. Many of the same problems are associated with underbites. Lastly, there are irregular bites like cross bites where teeth are just misaligned and cause extra stress on specific teeth or one side of the jaw. 

Should My Child Get Traditional Braces or Invisalign?

Different children and teens might be recommended different orthodontic treatments for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the nature of the orthodontic issues can sometimes be the main factor in an orthodontist’s recommendations. If there are severe orthodontic issues, traditional braces are often recommended. Invisalign and other clear aligners can help with minor to moderate adjustments. However, it is also important to ensure that your child or teen is able to follow the instructions with their clear aligner treatment. If aligners aren’t worn for the minimum hours per day it can prolong treatment significantly. 

Orthodontists in Chicago

We have 11 dental offices throughout Chicago that provide a variety of treatments including orthodontics. Learn more about our offices and book an appointment with one of them by clicking below. 

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