The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommend that a child see an orthodontist for an initial consultation between ages 6-8, or when the first permanent molar erupts. For some parents, this recommendation comes as a surprise as children are still young and have baby teeth in place. This is the perfect time for a child to be evaluated by an orthodontist, as they have some adult teeth present, and some baby teeth have fallen out or are loose. At this time, your orthodontist can observe any differences in how the teeth are erupting, how the jaw is growing, and how much space will be needed for the upcoming adult teeth. Scheduling an assessment at this time enables an orthodontist to intervene and encourage healthy bite development as the child develops. You can read more about this age recommendation here.
Another benefit of having children assessed early is that it provides your orthodontist the ability to collect information, and ‘wait and watch.’ While children may not require treatment when they are young, your orthodontist can collect data in skeletal development, bite formation, eruption, and more. If a patient sees an orthodontist for the first time as a teen or adult, we lose the advantage of being able to intervene early with minor procedures, which can mean there are more extensive, longer treatments required. In some cases, tooth extractions can even be avoided by having early intervention orthodontic treatment. By identifying concerns early and making corrections at an early phase, treatment is often less expensive and time consuming.
Here are some signs that a child may require orthodontic treatment while they still have baby teeth present:
- They have difficulty chewing or biting their food
- They snore or have difficulty breathing comfortably
- They have a habit that could affect their dental health (thumb sucking, etc.)
- Their teeth aren’t straight and meet in an abnormal bite
- They have upper teeth that fit in behind lower teeth
- Either their top or bottom jaws appear too small or too large
- They have an irregular loss of baby teeth (either too early or too late)
- They have crowding as the permanent teeth erupt
- They are having problems with speech
Introducing your child to an orthodontist between 6 and 8 years old is a great start towards a lifetime of optimal oral health. If there are no current issues, your orthodontist will schedule a follow up appointment with you on a regular interval to check up on the continuing growth and development.
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From missing teeth, narrow arches, crowding or spacing, openbites, underbites and crossbites – there are many dental irregularities that present themselves at an early age and benefit from early intervention. If you have been worried about your child’s bite and teeth, or if you would like more information regarding orthodontic treatment for children – contact Cory Liss Orthodontics at 403-287-0746 and one of our amazing team members can help you. You can also complete a consultation request form online here. We hope to see your smile soon!