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Annual orthodontic exams for children – A must-have for your child’s oral health
The growth of teeth and jaw development is distinct for each child. While some children are fortunate to achieve flawless dentition naturally, most may require orthodontic intervention to achieve a beautifully aligned, healthy, and confident smile for a lifetime. Regular orthodontic visits play a crucial role in determining the optimal timing for treatment based on your child’s unique tooth and jaw development. This article highlights the importance of annual orthodontic exams for children.
The Ideal Age For the First Dental Exam
- Parents often delay scheduling an orthodontic appointment for their child until they are preteens or teenagers. The specific timings depend on your child’s development, but orthodontic screenings should ideally be scheduled once a child’s permanent molars and front teeth have emerged.
However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic assessment by age seven. This initial examination focuses on evaluating your child’s oral health to identify potential issues early on. Early detection can prevent minor orthodontic issues from progressing into more significant concerns in the future.
Importance Of Early Dental Examination
Orthodontic screenings at an early age are crucial as they allow the detection of potential issues while the jaw is still in its developmental stages and before all permanent teeth have erupted. Early identification provides the opportunity for interceptive treatment. This proactive approach can minimize your child’s treatment time and enhance the outcome.
Interceptive treatment at an early age can offer several direct benefits, including:
- Creating space for crowded and erupting teeth.
- Affecting jaw growth to achieve facial symmetry.
- Lowering the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth.
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth.
- Reducing the necessity for tooth removal.
- Cutting down on the overall time required for braces treatment.
By addressing orthodontic concerns early on, you can optimize your child’s oral health, contribute to facial harmony, and streamline the treatment process for a more efficient and effective outcome.
What To Expect on Your Child’s First Orthodontic Visit?
- Your child’s initial orthodontic examination comprises a comprehensive assessment involving photographs, x-rays, and a discussion of potential treatment options. During this visit, the orthodontist thoroughly examines the child’s orthodontic needs to determine the appropriate time to initiate treatment. The examination focuses on various aspects, including identifying signs of crowding, assessing your child’s bite, and evaluating the protrusion of the front teeth.
If the timing for treatment is not optimal, and in most cases, it isn’t, the orthodontist will schedule annual screenings for your child. As the child approaches the need for comprehensive treatment, the frequency of screenings will be increased to every six months. Orthodontist treatments are prioritized when the child’s growth and development align to ensure the most effective and beneficial outcomes. The aim is to initiate treatment only when necessary and advantageous for the child.
Signs of Potential Orthodontic Issues
Recognizing signs that suggest your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment is essential for proactive oral health. Some indicators include:
- Struggling to bite or chew properly
- Difficulty speaking correctly
- Premature loss of baby teeth
- Delayed loss of baby teeth
- Signs of crowding as permanent teeth emerge
- Crooked or angled teeth
- A bite that doesn’t align correctly
- Teeth grinding or clenching
Even if your child’s teeth appear perfect, scheduling an orthodontic exam at age seven and annually after that is recommended. This proactive approach contributes to your child’s healthy smile and long-term health.
Contact Icon Dental Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment with the best orthodontists in Seattle or Everett. Our expert dentists are dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatment for kids, from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Trust us to help you achieve a healthier, more beautiful smile. For consultations or bookings, call us at (206) 225-2882 for Seattle and (425) 337-2400 for Everett appointments.