As a parent, you want to ensure your child’s oral health is the best it can be. If you suspect your child’s bite may not be in alignment or if their teeth look like they’re coming in crooked, you want to head off any serious problems. So when is the right time to start orthodontics?
Dr. Karen Reese with Reese Orthodontics, with offices in New Hope and Chanhassen, Minnesota, has served the Minneapolis area for many years. She’s a family orthodontist who understands how to make your child feel at ease while sitting in the big chair. You can trust her to make your child’s orthodontic care as comfortable as possible.
When should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children receive an orthodontic evaluation at around age seven. Even if your child’s teeth look straight, an orthodontist can detect future problems with emerging teeth and jaw development.
Dr. Reese can determine whether your child has malocclusion or will have it in the future. Their teeth may be crowded now, or become crooked later on. Bite problems may be evident. The upper row of teeth may not align with the lower set of teeth when your child’s mouth is closed.
Read on for some of the issues that Dr. Reese may identify at your child’s evaluation and mark for correction at the appropriate time.
Problems with jaw growth
Dr. Reese can see if your child’s front teeth protrude too far out in an overbite or whether your child’s lower jaw sticks out from an underbite. If your child has been a thumb or finger sucker through and beyond age five, they’re more prone to this type of malocclusion.
Dr. Reese may recommend expanders, braces, or other appliances to bring your child’s upper and lower jaws into alignment.
Protruding upper teeth
Do your child’s front teeth protrude too much? This is a common orthodontic problem that Dr. Reese treats often.
Your child doesn’t have adequate protection from a fall or a blow to the mouth when their teeth protrude and their mouth doesn’t close all the way. Plus, your child may have problems chewing food. Your child may also suffer emotionally if other children make fun of their “buck teeth.”
An open bite or cross bite
If your child’s front teeth don’t meet when their mouth is closed, they have an open bite. This can affect their front teeth, back teeth, or both. Your child may have been a thumb sucker or have a habit of pushing their tongue between their upper and lower teeth, causing an open bite.
A crossbite means the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth. A crossbite can be caused by thumb sucking, genetics, or the way the permanent teeth erupt.
As your child grows, they will thank you for starting their orthodontic care early. When it’s finished, they’ll have straight rows of healthy pearly whites.