small child in the dentist chair

When Should My Child Visit the Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in correcting jaw and teeth alignment problems.The earlier you bring your children to see an orthodontist, the easier (and probably less expensive) it will be to correct their teeth. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child should see an orthodontist for an exam by the time they are seven years old, despite the fact that there are baby teeth present. Your child’s orthodontist can identify bite issues at an early age and can recommend the appropriate treatment.

What to Expect on the First Visit

At seven years of age and up, your orthodontist can evaluate issues such as an uneven bite and teeth overcrowding. Seeing an orthodontist doesn’t mean your child will get braces right away. The first visit is usually a time for detecting any problems and deciding the best time to start treatment.

If the upper and lower jaw are growing too much or too little, it can be detected at an early age. If young children aged seven years and older have a jaw discrepancy, then early orthodontic treatment may be recommended.

Your orthodontist will give your child a thorough examination of the mouth, teeth, and jaw. Your doctor will ask your child to bite the teeth together to evaluate for any misalignment. Questions about any problems with chewing or swallowing, and if the jaw makes clicking or popping sounds are typically asked.

Your orthodontist may take mouth and teeth X-rays to get a better look at how they are positioned. Your doctor is also looking for any permanent teeth that have yet to erupt. An impression (mold) of your child’s teeth may be taken by sinking the top and bottom teeth into a tray of gel. After the tray is removed, the gel hardens and creates a replica of your child’s teeth. The replica is used to determine if any or which treatment options are best for your child. Your child should experience no discomfort during the visit.

Treatment Options

Traditional Braces

Braces help to correct alignment problems by keeping pressure on the teeth that gradually moves them into straighter positions. Traditional braces are recommended to correct bite problems, such as an overbite. These types of braces have wires threaded through brackets attached to the teeth, as well as rubber bands. The wire is tightened in small increments over time to slowly line up the teeth and jaw into their desired positions. Braces can be metal, clear, or white ceramic, and some versions can be placed behind the teeth.

Removable Braces

Clear removable braces use plastic trays (aligners) to move teeth. Removable braces can be taken out when eating and are less noticeable than traditional metal braces. Invisalign is highly recommended by many orthodontists. For younger children, removable braces may not be the best choice, because they can be easily misplaced, or the child may simply forget to put them back in after eating, brushing, or flossing.

If you’re interested in learning more about early treatment for your child, contact Dr. Doug Crosby Orthodontics in Richardson and Dallas, TX. Dr. Crosby provides compassionate and comprehensive orthodontic evaluations and treatment options to ensure that all your child’s needs are met for a healthy and beautiful smile. Dr. Crosby’s professional team works with you every step of the way, beginning with a complimentary consultation. To schedule your orthodontic consultation, give us a call today at 972-680-9882 or fill out the form on this page anytime.