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Does My Child Need An Orthodontic Evaluation?

February is Children’s Dental Health Month.  This is a great month for our Orthodontist, Dr. Prasanna Kumar,  to meet with you and your child to discuss if there is a need to start orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests an orthodontic screening by age seven.  

A Child’s Developing Bite

Bones and muscles form the framework of the face.  In a young child, they grow quickly and can develop problems quickly, too.  When the bones, muscles and teeth work well together, they can create a stable, comfortable bite and pleasing appearance.  When the bones and muscles grow improperly, the teeth don’t fit together well.  This can cause an unbalanced profile and other problems.  Either genetics or environmental factors may have influenced the development of your child’s jaw and muscles.

Why Age 7?

Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct before jaw growth has slowed.  By age 7, your child’s bite has been established with the eruption of the first permanent molars.  In addition the presence of permanent incisors (front teeth) will allow an orthodontist to detect and evaluate possible crowding patterns, detrimental oral habits, and an improper bite.  A screening by age 7 also helps to determine if treatment will be necessary and  the best time for your child to be treated.

What Are The Benefits of Early Orthodontics?

  • A reduced need to extract permanent teeth.
  • Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery.
  • An opportunity to guide the growth of the jaw.
  • Guide incoming permanent teeth into desirable positions.
  • Lower risk of trauma or injury to protruded front teeth.
  • Correct harmful oral habits, such as finger and thumb sucking.
  • Maintain or gain space for the permanent teeth that are coming in.
  • May minimize the need for more extensive and costly procedures later.
  • Early orthodontic treatment may also aid in a child’s psychological development when related to appearance and self-esteem.
  • Reduce or eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems.

Is Early Orthodontic Treatment Always Required?

The need for interceptive or early orthodontics must be determined on an individual basis.  An orthodontist can advise parents if the problem should wait until more permanent teeth are in place.

Seek Treatment Earlier Than Age Seven If Your Child Has:

  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Open-mouth breathing.
  • Thumb or finger sucking.
  • Overlapping or crowding of erupting permanent teeth.
  • Jaws that click or pop.
  • Biting of the cheek or into the roof of the mouth.
  • Speech problems.
  • Grinding or wearing down of teeth.
  • Obvious abnormal bite development of any kind.

Call us at 586-755-2650 to make your child’s orthodontic evaluation!