When Should Your Child Be Seen for An Orthodontic Checkup?

This is a frequently asked question by parents of young children. This depends on the dental age of the patient rather than chronological age. Braces are usually associated with teenagers but this isn’t always the case. Treatment can start as early as seven years of age. A good time to have your child assessed by an orthodontist is after the front permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth or if there is extreme crowding of the teeth. Regular visits to the dentist are important as they will be looking out for any problems that might benefit early orthodontic treatment. Any concerns should be referred to an orthodontist.

Early warning signs:

Baby teeth that are lost too early or too late. Most are lost between the age of 5-14.
Thumb sucking; especially if its excessive or carries on beyond the age of 4.
Teeth that don’t bite together properly or stick out.
Speech impediments such as a lisp or slurring
Crowded adult front teeth

Benefits of Early Treatment:

It is important that your dentist keeps a close eye on your child’s development as some problems are treated more efficiently at a young age. As we age our jaw bone stops growing so orthodontic treatment becomes slightly more difficult. By starting early we can guide the jaw bone growth and change their position and width. The alternative solution for adults is tooth removal or surgery. Early intervention can also help make sure there is enough space as the adult teeth start to come through in the correct position.
Front teeth which protrude are very vulnerable to trauma. This is especially the case in young adults who are playing contact sports. Gum shields will reduce but not eliminate the risks. Early treatment to reduce the overjet can reduce the odds of catastrophic trauma to these teeth.

What Does Early Orthodontic Treatment Involve

Wearing a fixed or removable brace although removable is more common. If the child has a small jaw or teeth that stick out your orthodontist might recommend a twin block brace. This is removable and repositions the jaws helping them into the correct position. This is usually followed by a fixed brace.

Referring Children for an Orthodontic Assessment

Your dentist can refer your child directly for a private assessment and treatment at any time for a specialist opinion. If you child has an NHS assessment and qualifies for treatment they may need to join a waiting list before the braces are fitted. This is due to limited funding available on the NHS. Typical waiting lists can be up to 2 years.
If you would like further advice or to arrange an orthodontic assessment please feel free to call 01600 712020 or email info@themayhill.co.uk

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