Seeing the Orthodontist
By age seven, your child should see an orthodontist. You may be saying, “What? That’s so early!” Yes, it seems early, but there are several very good reasons why your orthodontist wants to see your child that soon.
Mouth and Jaw Problems That May Require Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child
Your child may be experiencing:
- Crowding issues: If your child’s baby teeth are crowded due to a small jawbone, or because they are getting their adult teeth in but haven’t lost enough baby teeth to create more room, they could be experiencing crowding. Usually, if your orthodontist feels that your child’s jaw won’t grow enough to fit new adult teeth, they may want to expand the upper jaw using a palatal expander.
- Spacing issues: Sometimes, kids will lose many baby teeth, but their adult teeth are coming in on a delayed schedule. Their adult teeth may also be too small to fill up the space in their mouth. Braces are often used for spacing problems. With both spacing and crowding, your child may not be able to clean their teeth effectively, or they may lack protection around their teeth.
- Underbites, overbites, and cross bites: If your child’s adult teeth aren’t properly positioned as they come in, your child could have their upper teeth bite down over lower teeth, or their lower teeth jut past their upper teeth. This causes uneven wear and tear on the teeth and can affect speech and chewing. A crossbite is when the upper and lower jaw are misaligned, leading to an uneven bite or bone loss.
Pittsburgh-area parents should choose an orthodontist with decades of experience with orthodontic care, like Dr. King.
- Braces. Braces can solve many problems with your child’s teeth, as well as with speech and chewing. A Pittsburgh orthodontist like Dr. King can straighten and position your child’s teeth using braces.
- Two-phase treatment. Two-phase treatment has become popular during the past decade because it allows your child’s upper jaw to grow and fit in adult teeth that otherwise may become “stuck” up in the jaw due to crowding. It used to be that children would get baby teeth pulled to allow the adult teeth to come in. Now, orthodontists use an appliance called a palatal expander that slowly pulls the jaw wider just a few millimeters, letting adult teeth descend. Braces are then placed on the upper teeth to ensure that they are straight and that your child has a proper bite. That ends the first phase of treatment. After your child has completed the first set of braces, their mouth and jaw continue to grow, and then they receive another set of braces after they’ve lost all of their baby teeth. This is the second phase.
If your child is exhibiting any of these problems, it’s important to get them to an orthodontist. Early intervention is always better. Many parents first hear about possible tooth and jaw problems from their family dentist. That yet another reason why it’s important to maintain dental checkups every six months—your dentist can let you know if you should be visiting an orthodontist before age seven.
King Orthodontics has two convenient locations—one in Wexford and one in downtown Pittsburgh. They have been helping children, teens, and adults for over 30 years. Call them today for a complimentary consultation.