Why do you see such young kids (7-9) already being treated with orthodontics these days? This is worrisome for some parents who, on one hand, want to ensure that they are doing all they can to take care of their children, but on the other hand, don’t want to get treatment if not truly necessary or if it could be treated at a later date–ONE time. Some parents have confided in me during an exam that they felt like if they walked into an orthodontic office, they would inevitably walk out with braces. Many parents have told me that they didn’t have braces until they were in high school. So, from their perspective, braces don’t come until
later if needed at all. Well, let me tell you right up front–that I get as much joy out of advising parents that their kid doesn’t need braces right now as I do treating patients. Of course, let’s do what’s in the best interest of the patients!
The American Association of Orthodontics does recommend bringing your child in for an orthodontic consultation around age 7 to screen for tooth eruption and jaw size issues. There is a delicate balance going on at all times with the teeth and their development, and it is easy for things to get off track or go awry. Seven is a good age to get a screening for the kids because as a board-certified orthodontist, I am able to predict with good certainty whether the teeth will fit within the upper and lower
jawbones of the mouth. This is due to the presence of a few key permanent teeth at this age. After taking some measurements, I can make good predictions of what is to come. I can also give you plenty of information regarding spacing, crowding, bite relationship and orthodontic problems. The main point of this exam is to determine whether your child needs treatment now or if it’s best to wait until a more ideal time and to find an orthodontic “home”.
This consultation will give you at the very least, peace of mind one way or another regarding future treatment of your child. Or it may mean we should do something to manage the eruption process of your child’s teeth, to make more aggressive treatment unnecessary at a later date, such as the extractions of permanent teeth. The orthodontic profession used to let all
the teeth crash in, come what may, and then clean it up during the teen years. Now, I am sometimes heard saying around the office and in consultations that “it is better to prevent a train wreck, then to clean up a train wreck”.
So, whether you’ve been guided by your dentist to seek an ortho consult, whether you can see for yourself something doesn’t look right, or whether you want to make sure everything is progressing normally regarding your child’s teeth and smile, then bring them in for a complete, no charge consultation. I’ll be happy to help you make sense of things, adding to your dental knowledge. If so inclined, please call our office today and schedule an appointment.