5 Benefits of Early Orthodontic Evaluations
Get in Front of Future Dental Issues
When your children are little, you might be most concerned about protecting their teeth from cavities.
In your quest to help them brush and floss to keep plaque away, it’s easy to lose sight of alignment issues and other concerns that can affect their abilities and appearance down the road.
This is where an orthodontic evaluation can prove invaluable. Your pediatric dentist is skilled in identifying instances of malocclusion, and can offer helpful advice on how to ensure your child’s teeth are properly positioned as they grow.
Are you on the fence about making the appointment? Today, we’re sharing 5 benefits of early orthodontic evaluations and why it’s time to book one today.
When should you schedule an orthodontic evaluation?
Both children and teenagers can benefit from early orthodontic evaluations. In fact, our team believes that these visits can help enhance your child’s smile at any age.
Still, there is an optimal time period to begin pursuing orthodontic treatments. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, these initial visits should begin no later than age 7.
Despite conflicting reports, they do not need to wait until all of their adult teeth have erupted. In fact, waiting until that occurs could do more harm than good.
And why is 7the magic number? This is the age that your child’s first adult molars will erupt. These are the teeth that will help establish their back bite. When this occurs, we encourage you to bring your little one in for a comprehensive orthodontic exam.
The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Evaluations
During this first visit, a dentist can provide detailed information on the development of your child’s teeth and jawbone. Specifically, they will evaluate your child’s various tooth relationships, including the following:
This is also the time to check for the early signs of any orthodontic issues, such as the following:
- Buck teeth
- Underbite or overbite
- Crowded, overlapping or misaligned teeth
Why should you prioritize these evaluations at an early age? Let’s take a look at 5 benefits you can expect when you go ahead and pursue an exam as soon as your child meets the age requirement.
1. Save Money on Future Treatments
When orthodontic concerns are identified and addressed early, you have a greater opportunity for more effective treatment at your pediatric dentist’s office.
You can also save money by catching the issues at a young age, rather than giving them years to magnify and only seeking treatment later when they reach their teenage years. Early treatment can help reduce the need for tooth removal and can also shorten the treatment time required for braces.
2. Guide Teeth During Eruption
As your child’s baby teeth give way to a full set of permanent, adult teeth, spacing issues can occur. At an orthodontic evaluation, a dentist can identify which adult teeth will soon erupt and help guide them into position.
This process can also create much-needed room for erupting teeth to grow, ensuring against crowding. It will also help preserve space for teeth that have yet to erupt.
3. Mitigate Risk of Oral Motor Issues
If misalignments, underbites, overlapping teeth or any other alignment issues occur, they can directly impact your child’s oral motor skills.
These are the skills that help train the muscles in your mouth, jaw and tongue, as well as your lips and cheeks. When their teeth and jaw don’t develop as they should, it can lead to a variety of issues, including
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech problems
- Jaw pain
- Abnormal bite development
When caught early, these concerns can be mitigated and even eliminated altogether by your pediatric dentist. Yet, if left untreated, they could snowball into bigger, more expensive conditions that aren’t as easy or economical to treat.
4. A More Confident Smile
For kids and adults alike, a straight, confident smile can be an instant mood-booster. At the same time, the opposite can also hold true.
Any sort of misalignment in their jaw formation can change the way your child’s smile looks, which can lead to self-esteem issues down the road.
How does this happen you ask? Orthodontic conditions can cause your child’s smile or entire facial structure to appear asymmetrical, especially if their jaw isn’t growing properly. If there is a dental malocclusion or a mismatch between their upper and lower jaws, it can cause the lower jaw to shift disproportionately to one side. When this happens, facial asymmetries can become noticeable.
At an orthodontic evaluation, your dentist can help guide balanced and successful jaw growth. In time, this can correct their facial symmetry and build back their confidence.
5. Reduce the Risk of Trauma
Does your child appear to have an overbite? What about buck teeth? These are issues that an orthodontic treatment can help reverse and correct, but not without an evaluation.
If these misalignment issues aren’t addressed, it can increase your child’s risk of experiencing trauma to those protruding teeth. If they play contact sports, this concern becomes even more of a factor. As our team helps to properly guide their teeth into an ideal position, this liability becomes less of an issue.
Visit Us for an Orthodontic Evaluation
We know you want the best for your child, and healthy teeth and gums are near the top of the list.
That’s why, in addition to regular preventative dentistry checkups, we also recommend starting orthodontic evaluations around the age of 7, or when our pediatric dentists deem necessary.
These visits can set the foundation for the healthy development of your child’s teeth. If you have any questions about when to schedule yours or what to expect, we encourage you to reach out to our office. We’re dedicated to helping you navigate each step of your children’s dental health, and we’re in this together.