Getting braces is a common procedure that many feel is a rite of passage in childhood. Though you may be tempted to wait to visit the orthodontist until all of your child’s adult teeth have emerged, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see an orthodontist around the age of seven. Bringing your child to the orthodontist for an evaluation early has multiple benefits for your child’s teeth.
1. Reduces Dental Decay
Untreated dental decay in children is a problem that affects more than just their mouths. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 20 percent of children between the ages of five and 11 have at least one untreated cavity. Other studies have found that children with dental decay miss more school and have poorer grades than children without decay. Additionally, the pain and infections that often go along with dental decay can affect a child’s overall health, speaking, and learning. Having a crowded mouth can make it difficult for children to brush and floss properly. Without proper hygiene, dental decay may flourish in the mouth.
Taking your child to the orthodontist early can help reduce the risk of dental decay developing. Preventative dentistry and orthodontic treatment can help straighten your child’s teeth. This can put your child on the path to a lifetime of caring for their teeth and developing good oral hygiene habits that will keep them healthy. Those who live on the east coast should visit an orthodontist in New York. The orthodontist will be able to use the latest advancements in orthodontic care to evaluate and treat your child’s teeth.
2. Guide and Control Tooth Eruption
Babies often get their first tooth between six and 12 months of age. They will continue to get their teeth until the age of three. They will then begin to lose their baby teeth and grow in a permanent set between the ages of four and six. Though teething is very uncomfortable for babies and toddlers, it shouldn’t be extremely painful for older children. If your child complains about their teeth often, their mouth may not have enough room in it for the emerging teeth.
An orthodontist will take x-rays of your child’s mouth and look at the trajectory of the teeth that are set to grow in. If there isn’t enough room in the child’s mouth or other teeth are in the way, the orthodontist can help correct these issues with treatment or surgery. Without these treatments, the child could develop severely crooked teeth and/or a misaligned jaw.
3. Help Identify and Stop Bad Habits
Young children often develop bad habits that harm their teeth. These poor habits may include:
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Teeth grinding
- Tongue sucking
- Mouth breathing
- Using a pacifier or bottle for too long
Parents are often so busy that they may not realize the harm that these habits have on their child’s teeth until severe damage has been done. Taking a child to the orthodontist early can help identify bad habits and give you tips on how to help your child stop these practices. The orthodontist may also offer some early treatment options to help correct the problems caused by bad habits.
4. Improve Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Children and teenagers often go through phases where they struggle with their self-esteem. Crooked teeth, an underbite, or an overbite can make these self-esteem issues worse. Getting orthodontic care before the awkward teenager can help your child feel more secure in who they are.
When children and teenagers are confident, this shows in their schoolwork and in their interactions with friends and adults. Younger children may love showing off their metal braces with different bands that they choose. Teenagers may feel more confident with clear braces or orthodontic liners. Take your child to an orthodontist now and watch them bloom as they flash their confident, straight smile all through adulthood.
It may seem strange to bring your younger child into the orthodontist but getting an evaluation early is a smart idea. Talking with an orthodontist will give you an idea of the course of treatment your child will need. This will help you formulate a plan and save money for the orthodontic care that will give your child a confident, beautiful smile.