It can be difficult to know when it’s the right time for certain milestones in your child’s life, especially when it comes to orthodontic treatments. Most parents are surprised to learn that the American Academy of Orthodontics recommends that children get their first orthodontic checkup by the age of seven. While this may seem early, starting an orthodontic treatment like pediatric braces now can help prevent the need for longer or more complex treatments later in your little one’s life. It may also be the best way to protect that precious smile from serious issues and permanent damage! Read on to learn more about pediatric orthodontics and why you shouldn’t put off treatment if your child needs it.
Why Is Early Orthodontic Treatment Important?
Braces and other orthodontic treatments are typically associated with teenagers, so it may seem far too early to begin worrying about teeth and jaw alignment at age seven. By this age, all the permanent teeth haven’t even come in yet! However, an orthodontist can evaluate your seven-year-old’s orthodontic development and spot the earliest warning signs of potentially serious issues. While problems like crooked teeth and bite problems may not be significantly impacting your child’s daily life right now, leaving these issues unchecked can lead to serious consequences later.
What Could Happen If Orthodontic Treatment Is Postponed?
If your child’s dentist or orthodontist has recommended that they begin pediatric orthodontics, it’s because they’ve detected an issue that should be addressed before it gets worse. Postponing treatment when your child needs it can eventually cause:
- Weakened, sensitive and chipped teeth: Talking and eating with misaligned teeth exposes them to extra wear and tear, which wears away the enamel and increases risk of sensitive or chipped teeth.
- Difficulty eating and jaw soreness: An uneven or mismatched bite can make it more difficult to chew and swallow food. In addition, it puts more stress on the jaw joints, which can lead to stiffness and soreness.
- Increased risk of oral health issues: Crooked teeth are hard to clean and easily trap food and plaque, which dramatically increases your child’s risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
- Changes in facial and oral development: In severe cases, leaving orthodontic issues untreated can influence how your child’s oral structures develop and the shape of their face.
- Complications that require complex treatments: Waiting to correct your child’s orthodontic issues until they’re older can cost you more time and money on complex, lengthy and invasive treatments later in life.
How Do Pediatric Orthodontics Work?
Pediatric orthodontics prevent the problems listed above with early intervention. Treatment revolves around removable oral appliances that are worn nightly, which helps guide your child’s teeth and jaws into the proper position as they grow. Treatment options vary depending on the unique needs of your child and can include things like specialized retainers, tongue cribs, space maintainers, or limited phase braces. These customized devices will help prevent serious issues in the future, and may even reduce or eliminate the need for more treatments to get a straighter smile later in life.
About the Practice
Our talented team at Simply Orthodontics is proud to help smiles of all ages in Marlborough and the surrounding communities become straighter and healthier. We offer services for patients of all ages, including everything from adult braces to pediatric orthodontics and everything in between. If your child is seven or older, we encourage you to bring them in for an orthodontic checkup to see if they could benefit from starting their journey towards a straighter smile now. To learn more, we can be contacted online or at (508) 281-5188.