4 Reasons Your Child Should Get an Early Orthodontic Evaluation
Protect your child’s developing smile with an early orthodontic evaluation.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children receive an orthodontic evaluation no later than their seventh birthday. This might seem like a very young age for any sort of orthodontic inquiry, but it’s actually the perfect time in the event early or interceptive orthodontic treatment may be necessary.
Here are Dr. Naik’s top 4 reasons why she encourages parents to follow through with an early orthodontic evaluation.
1. Orthodontists have the experience needed to spot early warning signs of trouble.
A child’s smile is constantly experiencing changes, especially as baby teeth are being lost and adult teeth start to erupt. While a general dentist or pediatric dentist will keep a very close eye on their dental health, such as signs of cavities, an orthodontist will pay attention to the alignment of their teeth and jaw. Because of their expertise and knowledge, your child’s dentist will notice early signs of trouble before they develop into a big problem.
Unless your child’s dentist provides orthodontic care, as Dr. Naik does, they may not be aware of these red flags until the alignment issue is obvious and already advanced. For this reason, schedule your child’s orthodontic evaluation with a dedicated orthodontist or with a dentist who provides orthodontic care.
2. Early evaluations can diagnose medical and behavioral conditions before their symptoms become obvious.
Medical and behavioral conditions play an important role in orthodontic treatment.
Alignment issues with the teeth also impact the jaw and how the teeth meet when at rest, speaking, or eating. In some cases, a child may develop temporomandibular disorder (TMD) at a very young age. This could be a congenital issue or one that develops as a child’s jaw grows. A TMD can mask itself as a toothache, a sore neck, or a headache, but an orthodontic evaluation will reveal the true cause. The sooner a medical issue is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin and the sooner your child will have relief.
Similarly, behavior can also impact the smile. Thumbsucking and prolonged pacifier use are great examples of how an oral habit can negatively impact the teeth. An orthodontist will spot potential negative signs of these behaviors and help curb them.
3. Interceptive treatment allows for maximum effectiveness in treatment.
When an early orthodontic evaluation reveals a problem, then interceptive treatment is typically the next step. Interceptive treatment is an early form of orthodontic care to curb developing alignment issues and prevent them from getting more severe. Usually, interceptive treatment has two phases, one being proactive treatment and the other being braces at a later age.
Interceptive treatment is incredibly beneficial for kids who need it. One example of why interceptive care is so valuable is in cases of narrow palates. If a child’s palate isn’t wide enough to allow for the eruption of future adult teeth, problems will surely follow. Early orthodontic appliances like palatal expanders will help make more room in the jaw for these teeth while the jawbone is still growing and willing to accept these changes.
4. Early orthodontic care can save your family time and money in the long run.
Many parents are pleasantly surprised to learn that early orthodontic care is often less expensive in the long run, even when two-phase treatment is recommended.
By taking early action to solve alignment issues, curb oral fixation behaviors, and make space for future adult teeth, you’re actually going to shorten the total treatment time during the second phase of care. If phase-one interceptive treatment wasn’t complete, your child could face a much longer, and thereby more expensive, orthodontic care journey in the future.
Early Orthodontic Evaluations with Dr. Naik at River Walk Dental
Dr. Naik and her team welcome families and their children. Our practice provides complete dental care for all ages, and that includes orthodontic evaluations and treatment for kids, teens, and adults.
As a patient of Dr. Naik, your child’s bite will be monitored closely and examined during every routine checkup and cleaning appointment. This allows Dr. Naik to catch signs of trouble as quickly as possible since routine checkups are scheduled every six months. Kids who are new patients with Dr. Naik will receive this same level of care, including a complete orthodontic evaluation and review of any previous X-rays and dental history.
If Dr. Naik does see that interceptive treatment is necessary, she will create a treatment plan for your child as early as six years of age. If no issues are noted, or if an alignment issue is mild and doesn’t require interceptive care, Dr. Naik will continue to monitor the issue and recommend braces or another form of treatment at a more appropriate age.
Parents with questions or concerns about their child’s smile are encouraged to call our office to chat with Dr. Naik. She loves answering questions and helping parents understand the ins and outs of early orthodontic treatment! If you need to book an appointment for your child or ask a question, you can call our Flower Mound, TX, office or request an appointment online.