The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children visit an orthodontist or a pediatric dentist no later than age 7 because, even though your child’s teeth appear straight to you, there could be a problem that only a dentist can spot. Orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early and a dentist is best equipped to determine if and when your child needs braces. Timely intervention may prevent more serious problems from developing and make treatment shorter and less complicated when your child is older. Early treatment gives the dentist the opportunity to work with a child’s teeth and jaw while they are still growing and therefore, more pliable.
The dentist may take a “wait-and-see” approach even if a problem is detected. The dentist will check your child’s teeth from time to time as permanent teeth come in and face and jaws continue to grow. There is an ideal time to begin treatment in each case in order to achieve the best results. Your child’s dentist will determine when the time for treatment is right, as the dentist's goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most opportune time.
If your dentist suspects that your child may need braces later in life, he may suggest early orthodontic treatment in order to prevent more serious problems from developing. Early treatment gives your dentist a chance to guide jaw growth, lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth and correct harmful oral habits. When your child needs braces or other orthodontic appliances, the dentist is able to guide permanent teeth into a better position and improve the way the lips meet, thus improving your child’s appearance and self-esteem.
New removable appliances that are worn only at night can grow your child’s jaws while they are sleeping.
If you suspect that your child may need braces, it isn’t necessary for you to wait until your child is 7 before consulting an orthodontist or a pediatric dentist. Here are some of the signs and habits to look for that are indicators that your child may benefit from a visit to the orthodontist or pediatric dentist.
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