One of the most common questions that orthodontists hear from parents is what age should their child first see an orthodontist. While most children are not ready for comprehensive orthodontic treatment until their adult teeth come in, there are several common orthodontic problems that should be corrected with limited treatment at a young age to reduce the need for more invasive and extensive treatment as an adolescent. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven to screen for any problematic conditions. Your dentist and orthodontist team here in Longview will help you watch for developing problems and can treat them as needed.
Some of the common problems that may need early treatment include:
- Jaw growth discrepancies– this is when the top and bottom jaws do not coordinate well due to undesired growth pattern
- Crossbites of the front or back teeth– This occurs when a bottom tooth is in front of a top tooth
- Impacted teeth– An impacted tooth is a tooth that will not erupt into the mouth due to a blockage or unusual position. Impacted teeth occasionally damage the roots of adjacent teeth
- Severe crowding or misalignment– Teeth that are severely crowded or misaligned are more difficult to keep clean and are more likely to chip and have gum problems.
- Aberrant tooth movement secondary to destructive oral habits– Habits such as thumb or finger sucking frequently cause tooth and jaw growth problems and should be discouraged.
These are conditions that if not treated can lead to other problems. Orthodontists are trained to move teeth with a wide variety of tools including various types of braces, removable appliances (active retainers), bonded appliances (such as palatal expanders), clear plastic aligners, head gear etc. Together, the orthodontist and the parent will choose the method of treatment that is most appropriate for the child’s individual needs.
Palatal Expanders in Tacoma
Palatal Expanders are a device used to widen a child’s upper jaw so the upper and lower teeth fit together better. Palatal expanders are commonly used to treat issues such as an underbite.
If you or your dentist suspect that your child may benefit from a consultation with our friendly orthodontist please contact us. We are here to help! The orthodontist and their team will discuss treatment options that work best for you. We look forward to seeing you!