Much like with laundry, orthodontic health can be more manageable if you get ahead of it.
You wouldn’t skip a well-check at the pediatrician, and you shouldn’t skip an early trip to the orthodontist either. A visit to your orthodontist by age 7 will help keep your child’s oral health in check. And it may help you avoid more costly or more invasive treatments down the road.
Palatal expander – Your child may be a good candidate for palatal expansion, which can make the upper jaw wider and help to reduce crowding in abnormally narrow arches. Ideally, a palatal expander is used when a patient is still growing. Expansion occurs when the growth plate or suture in the middle of the palate is stretched and the two halves are pushed apart. As the two halves are spread, new bone is added.
In younger patients, palatal expansion may reduce the need for extractions or prevent impacted teeth. Cases not corrected in growing patients may require surgery for correction in adulthood and may lead to abnormal wear or bite problems if not corrected at all.
Early interceptive treatment–Sometimes a short time in braces can correct problems early on to prevent larger problems later. An example of interceptive treatment is correcting an anterior crossbite.
Tooth removal – Sometimes removing baby or impacted teeth can help permanent teeth emerge better and encourage them to come in closer to their ideal position even without an orthodontic appliance. Your orthodontist will suggest the best time for extractions to take advantage of your child’s growth and development. Getting them into the orthodontist early allows you to receive the optimum treatment for them.
Not all early visits result in orthodontic treatment
One of three things could result from your child’s first appointment with the orthodontist. 1) There may be no need for treatment recognized at that time. 2) Treatment may be necessary in the future, so the child will be followed periodically while the face and jaws continue to develop. Or, 3) A problem already exists that would benefit by early treatment, and you are in the right spot to get started!
Most orthodontists offer free consultations, so there’s no reason to wait.
Trust an AAO orthodontist
You can work with an American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Orthodontist to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile at any age. Orthodontists are experts in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – properly aligned teeth and jaws – and possess the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Find an orthodontist near you at aaoinfo.org/locator