Pediatric Dentistry

When and Why Should My Child See the Orthodontist?

If you had braces when you were a child, tween, or teen, you no doubt remember that time with a little bit of trepidation. After all, having braces isn’t always comfortable and the process of having them put on and taken off can be a bit daunting.

It’s likely your memories might even trigger dread as you consider when and why your child needs to see an orthodontist.

However, if you consider the end results and your straight, white teeth and beautiful smile, it’s easy to recognize why it’s important to consider orthodontia sooner rather than later.

Or if you didn’t have braces and now have a smile that doesn’t make you proud, you likely understand just how essential it is that your children don’t go down the same path.

Why do kids need braces?

While it’s obvious that most people are eager to have straight teeth for appearance purposes, braces are often necessary simply for good dental health. And even when a child’s teeth appear to be straight, there may be an issue that only your dentist or orthodontist can detect.

Most often, the main reasons for braces are because your child’s teeth are crooked, overcrowded, or overlapping – or a little of each, but your child may also have what’s often referred to as a bad “bite”. The more technical term for that is malocclusion. This is when there’s a difference in the size of the upper and lower jaws.

When the upper jaw is larger, you’ll notice what’s call an overbite. When the lower jaw is bigger, it results in an underbite. These problems can pop up for a number of reasons, must of which occur during the childhood years.

Thumb sucking might cause issues as can losing baby teeth too soon. Other children may have had an accident that affected their teeth.

However, crooked teeth or a malocclusion can be inherited. In other words, there’s a good chance that if you needed braces, your child might need them as well. As such, early treatment can help prevent problems from becoming more serious and could shorten the length of treatment at a later age.

When is the right time to see an orthodontist?

Everyone is different so there isn’t a definitive age when your child should visit the orthodontist. However, if your pediatric dentist surmises that there could be a problem, following-up with an orthodontic specialist is a good idea. That could be as early as 6 or 7 years old or as late as 10 or 11 or even older.

However, it’s a good idea to consider a preliminary trip to the orthodontist once your child’s permanent teeth begin to come in. That’s usually around 2nd grade or age 7 or 8.

By this time, a lot of problems that call for the services of an orthodontist will begin to become apparent. It’s important to remember that seeing an orthodontist at an early age doesn’t mean your child will be required to wear braces at that time.

Rather, this early evaluation allows the orthodontist to make plans for treatment that may stretch over several years and eventually end with braces or he/she may determine that there’s currently no treatment necessary and may recommend another visit at a later date.

Here at Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry, our goal is prevention! Call Anchorage Pediatric Dentistry at 907-562-1003 to schedule an appointment with one of our board certified pediatric dentists for your children so we can keep them on the path to optimal oral health!

Dr Brant Darby DDS

Dr. J. Brant Darby graduated with honors from The Master’s College with a degree in Biology. He completed his dental training at the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry, followed by a pediatric dental residency at University of Nebraska Medical Center. He actively served as a dental officer in the United States Army for eight years.

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Dr Brant Darby DDS

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