A new patient to my practice was talking about her children and expressed particular concern about her five-year old who she thought might have orthodontic alignment issues. She was surprised when I urged her to bring her young daughter in for an orthodontic assessment as soon as possible.
Many parents are under the mistaken impression that their child has to be an adolescent with severe alignment issues in order to be considered for orthodontic treatment. Today I’d like to clear up some misconceptions about early orthodontic treatment.
My child will have to wait until they are older to see an orthodontist.
A dentist trained in early orthodontics will tell you this is simply not true. At Spokane Dental Care we know that the ages between 5 and 12 are the optimum years for your child to be seen in order to address the possible need for early orthodontics (also known as preventative or phase one orthodontic treatment). At this stage we can start to monitor their jaw growth and the potential resulting alignment of their teeth. It further enables us to develop an individualized treatment plan for your child.
Even if potential issues are identified, my child will still need braces.
Not necessarily – by monitoring the development of the child’s teeth at an early age it is often possible to eliminate the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment later through the use of orthodontic appliances and other methods that promote proper tooth alignment. A child may still require braces, but the treatment time is normally shortened because of early orthodontic treatment.
How do I know if my child is a candidate for early orthodontics?
A dentist specializing in early orthodontics, like Cheney Dental Office is the most qualified to determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment. Generally speaking, however, your child may be a candidate if you notice any of the following:
- Crowded or misaligned teeth
- Overbite or underbite
- Thumb-sucking habit
- Cleft palate