Will I Be Able to Spot an Orthodontic Problem in My Child?

This is a common question we receive. Seeking further guidance, parents and caregivers will often ask us to elaborate on what type of orthodontic problems they should be looking for. Although we always recommend a trained eye, here we’ll go into a little more depth to explain.

Baby Teeth and Orthodontic Treatment

Normally children will begin losing baby teeth around ages 5-7. This transition between baby and permanent teeth can vary widely for each child but it’s usually the point that future problems begin. Board certified orthodontists have the ability to predict the future and proactively make adjustments if necessary. When a problem exists at a young age, or one is developing, your orthodontist can remediate the issue by intervening in its early stages.

One possible variation is losing baby teeth too early or too late because this can create problems with the permanent teeth that should replace them. If your child is delayed in losing teeth, x-rays are necessary in finding out what’s happening below the gum’s surface. Sometimes we find that permanent teeth underneath aren’t able to push out the overlaying baby teeth which then may need to be gently removed. If a permanent tooth becomes impacted, it can harm the roots of neighboring teeth and force already erupted teeth into unhealthy positions.

When a baby tooth is lost too early on the other hand, the adjacent teeth will often start shifting into the newly opened space. This can cause your child’s teeth to come in crooked and will eventually cause crowding. By this time, children may find it difficult to bite or chew and may experience pain. A simple intervention such as a space maintainer can hold teeth in their places until the permanent tooth is ready to erupt.

Treatment for Crowded or Missing Teeth

The most recognizable orthodontic problem is crowded or missing teeth. There are a multitude of reasons why teeth come in the wrong direction or position and can simply just come down to genetics. Growing jaws and mouths can be small and sometimes there’s simply not enough room to account for all of the teeth that need to erupt. Your orthodontist can help move the process along. Phase one, or limited braces or appliances such as expanders can help make way for permanent teeth.

While health and function are always our primary goal with orthodontic treatment, the impact treatment can have on a child’s confidence and development is a wonderful added value. By the time your child enters middle school, their self-esteem may already be affected if they’re not happy with their smile. If addressed at a young age, it’s easier and less invasive to treat children with orthodontic appliances such as braces and Invisalign aligners.

When to See an Orthodontist

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children see an orthodontist at age 7 or at the first sign of an orthodontic problem. It’s important to remember that much of what is happening in the mouth happens below the surface and the safest way to determine that a problem doesn’t exist is to see a trained orthodontist for a consultation. In our office, we treat both children and adults with braces and Invisalign.

Request a Free Consultation

Consultations including initial x-rays are free of charge and no referral is needed. If you are seeking orthodontic care for yourself or your child, we’d love to meet you, give us a call!