When Should Children See an Orthodontist?

As your young child grows and his or her baby teeth make way for permanent teeth, it may be time for them to see an orthodontist. Orthodontics are practiced by a specialized dentist who aligns and straightens teeth.

But how do you know when it’s time for your child to see an orthodontist? The American Association of Orthodontists says that by the time children reach age 7, most future orthodontics issues can be predicted.

Here are some orthodontic problems to consider:

1. Crowding & Spacing

Teeth crowding issues may require the removal of teeth or that the arches be expanded.

A baby tooth that was lost too early, teeth that aren’t the right size, or a tooth that never developed can cause spacing problems.

2. Underbite

While patients aren’t generally treated for underbites until they have stopped growing, an orthodontist will normalize the bite early on to prevent shifting and damaging of teeth.

3. Alignment

Crooked teeth may have uneven wear or damage, and the position of overlying gum issues may be compromised. While tooth alignment can occur at an older age, crooked teeth issues that are dealt with early on will have less of an effect on a child’s self-esteem.

4. Protrusive Front Teeth

By age 7 it will be clear whether a child’s front teeth protrude more than what’s comfortable and attractive. By addressing the issue early, the severity of the problem can be reduced early and is more likely to be permanently corrected when your child gets older.

5. Tooth Loss/Eruption

By age 7, your child should have four permanent molars and incisors. If they don’t, there may be a variety of issues with the teeth, including crowding. Primary tooth removal or securing a space where a tooth has been lost can prevent larger issues later.

Dr. Foley specializes in orthodontic treatment for kids and teens in London, Ontario. Appointments are available without a referral. If you have concerns about your young child’s teeth, contact us at 519 672 2699.