Some parents think that they don’t have to bring their child to an orthodontist, until after the kid has his or her permanent teeth. There’s the belief that kids don’t need dentists during the stage where their teeth are still temporary, milk teeth. This isn’t the case though. In fact, your child will benefit by having an orthodontic exam, even if he or she still has temporary teeth.
The general cut off for kids to have their first orthodontic exam is at around seven years of age. This may seem somewhat young, but even at this age, a dentist will already be able to tell a lot about the potential future development of a child’s teeth.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the way temporary or baby teeth develop is an important indicator for the kid’s future dental health. Your orthodontist will want to know more about where the milk teeth are located, whether they are spaced nicely, how they fall out and when they fall out. He or she will also want to know more about when they surfaced. This information is important because it will allow your dentist to determine whether your kid’s milk teeth came out early or late, and whether they are falling out early or late as well.
It’s important for your dentist to get a comprehensive picture of your kid’s dental health, at an early age, because dental health is a long term process. The sooner your dentist can detect potential problems, the earlier he or she can intervene. And an earlier intervention can save you time, money and potential complications in the longer run.
Bringing your kid to an orthodontist at the age of seven will allow your dentist a chance to take an early look into your kid’s mouth, at a point when it is not too early. At around that age, kids already usually have a sufficient amount of permanent teeth in place, so that it becomes possible for your dentist to gain a better picture of existing or potential dental problems. From there, your dentist can suggest specific interventions, if these are required. He or she can also make suggestions of things you can do at home, to help make necessary improvements to your kid’s dental health.
Another thing to consider is that, while the age of seven is a general cut off for a kid’s first visit to the dentist, this is not a hard and fast rule. There may be situations where it will be a good idea to bring your child to the dentist sooner. You will need to observe your child’s eating and other related habits. Does your kid seem to have difficulty chewing or biting food? Is there any visible misalignment when your child smiles? Do it seem that your kid’s teeth are getting crowded or crooked in some places? Are there injuries or uncomfortable spots in your kid’s inner cheeks because these get scraped by his or her teeth during chewing or biting?
If any of these situations exist, then it’s probably time to have an orthodontic exam, even if your child isn’t seven years old yet. Your doctor will be able to take a look and advise you on what needs to be done.