Most children don’t like their yearly visits to the dentist. They don’t like the noises of the equipment used or the feeling of their teeth being cleaned. While it doesn’t hurt, it’s still an uncomfortable process and one that children don’t look forward to. Parents are usually there to provide support for their children and cheer them on thru the process. But, one thing that they don’t look forward to is when they hear: “Your child would benefit from braces.”
Around the age of seven, a dental professional can begin to see if there are damaged teeth, or if they are going to begin to come in crooked. This is when a recommendation to an orthodontist may come into play, and benefit the child. While there is no set-in-stone age for the child to have an appointment with an orthodontist, seven years of age is the typical age that they are seen.
At the child’s first orthodontic appointment, he or she will get to know the orthodontist while they get to know him/her. This creates a higher comfort level, and the child will feel more apt to ask questions if clarification is needed. The child should not feel scared or nervous about seeing the professional, but if it happens, orthodontists are experienced in handling the situation to calm the child down.
The initial appointment usually doesn’t last that long, but you will receive a lot of valuable information regarding the dental health of the child, and dental care as a whole. Paperwork will need to be submitted so the orthodontist can get a better grasp on the child’s history of health. X-Rays of the teeth, bite, gums, and jaw will be done to ensure that any issues are addressed and noted will be put on the dental chart. A treatment plan will then be created that is individualized for your child’s needs. The first appointment generally sets the tone for any future appointments, so it is beneficial for it to be a positive experience on all sides.
The orthodontist may simply tell you to keep an eye on the child’s teeth. They will have you look for certain things, like misalignments, overbites, underbites, crooked teeth, crowding, and teeth the protrude instead of going straight. These are all things that you can see without being invasive with the child. Over time, existing issues may correct themselves or worsen before the orthodontist makes the recommendation for braces. There may even be issues that the pediatric dentist can address and mitigate without any further procedures.
As the child gets a bit older, if the issue doesn’t correct itself, braces may be necessary. Braces are usually discussed between ages 10-14 depending on the issue and its severity. At this time, both the head and mouth are still growing and the teeth are more responsive to straightening. There are a few different options when it comes to braces that the orthodontist will discuss with you, to decide which one would be the best fit to correct the issue and maintain comfort.
Not every child is the same, and different recommendations may be given for the same issue. The teeth should be seen as individuals and will be treated as such, That is why there is no cookie cutter method or age that can be utilized for every person. Both parents and children should feel comfortable asking the orthodontist questions, so it is important for both to feel at ease from the beginning of the professional relationship.
Every child wants a good smile. Every parent wants to see that smile. The pediatric dentists and the orthodontist will make the possible. Ensuring that the child is seen by the dentist regularly, starting at a young age, will help pave the way for their beautiful smile!