Teeth rarely emerge perfectly straight, in exactly the right place, or in perfect alignment. Often these imperfections are slight, but can lead to serious long-term issues. Sometimes they’re severe, and must be corrected for overall health as well as cosmetic reasons. This is why most dentists recommend that a child be evaluated by an orthodontist at a fairly early age.
Does My Child Need Orthodontic Work?
Your child’s early visits to the dentist will be focused mostly on preventing decay, making sure daily hygiene is being performed effectively, and evaluating how the teeth are emerging. X-rays during childhood can also tell the dentist where the permanent teeth lie in the jaw and if there are any problems developing as the baby teeth emerge, grow, and fall out. Sometimes, baby teeth arrive crooked, but the permanent teeth are straight and correctly positioned. Also, sometimes permanent teeth can shift into proper position as the mouth grows larger.
In the past, dentists usually recommended a visit to the orthodontist for an evaluation during adolescence, after most of the permanent teeth had come in. Now, it’s recommended that your child have an orthodontic evaluation much earlier. Orthodontists provide care that can help permanent teeth emerge straight and in the correct position rather than waiting to straighten them when they have fully emerged.
Deciding on Orthodontic Work
You, your dentist, and your orthodontist can work together to determine if your child needs braces or other measures, such as palate wideners or spacers. As the teeth come in, some might correct themselves as the jaw grows larger, making room for teeth to shift their position. Very minor issues, such as small gaps, can be corrected with cosmetic dentistry. However, major issues require more extensive treatment.
Common issues addressed with orthodontic treatment include:
- Wide gaps between the teeth
Without treatment, these misalignment issues can lead to severe wear, grinding and clenching, and temporomandibular joint disorder. Eventually, severe misalignment can even cause tooth loss.
Schedule a consultation with our expert team today by calling our office and speaking with a member of our caring team.