I was surprised to learn that according to the California Association of Orthodontists, all children should get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7.
The reason: orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth or teeth while a child still has baby teeth. It’s important to identify these problems as early as possible so that the appropriate care can be initiated at the appropriate time for each patient.
My kids are 7 and 9. They see their excellent pediatric dentist twice a year. Although he said they’ll both need braces eventually, he thinks it’s too early to send them to an orthodontist.
Of course, one would expect an orthodontists group to push for kids to see an orthodontists as early as possible.
Regardless of the exact age when your child should see an orthodontist for the first time, these are a few signs or habits that may indicate the need for an orthodontic examination:
• Early or late loss of baby teeth
• Difficulty in chewing or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Thumb or finger sucking
• Crowded, misplaced or blocked out teeth
• Jaws that shift or make sounds
• Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
• Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
• Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
My plan is to keep taking my kids to the pediatric dentist twice a year and follow his advice regarding the best timing of the first orthodontic exam. What’s your plan?
Photo credit: lanuiop
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