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When Should My Child Start Going to the Orthodontist?

There’s a LOT of misinformation floating around the internet about what you HAVE to do and things you should NEVER do for your kids. That puts parents in a tough position — trying to make the best choices for their children, but having to sort through what’s real and what’s not. That gets especially complicated any time these choices venture into health and wellness. The choices we make for our kids’ health are incredibly important, but most of us as parents don’t have a medical background. So it can be hard to know who to believe. That’s why we wanted Dr. Reuland and Dr. Barnhart to weigh in one some of the biggest misconceptions you might see online as you start researching braces, Invisalign, and orthodontic care for your kids.

Misconception #1: You Should Wait to See an Orthodontist Until ALL of Your Children’s Permanent Teeth Come In.

Not true. Your child’s teeth and jaws are extremely active. There’s a LOT moving around in there! At about 6 years of age, your child will start to get their first permanent molars. You might think that because all this shifting and changing is going on, it might be best to wait until things settle down for a while. In reality, this might actually make treatment more difficult and complicated in the long run.

What Do the Experts Say?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends your child have their first orthodontist appointment by age 7. At this point, your child will have enough of their permanent teeth for an oral health professional to evaluate whether any preventative or constructive treatment might need to be done. Issues such as underbites, cross-bites or crowded teeth are relatively minor if addressed early but can pose more difficult problems if left unchecked.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs to See An Orthodontist?

While it’s helpful for kids who eventually need orthodontic care to check in with an orthodontist early, not every child needs to see an orthodontist. As a parent, you can watch out for some clues that there may be an orthodontic issue that needs to be addressed. One early indicator is early or late loss of baby teeth. Watch out for trouble with chewing or biting, speech difficulties and mouth-breathing. When a child has all of his or her permanent teeth, growth in the mouth is essentially complete. At this point, it can be much more difficult to correct the problem than it might have been had the issue been caught and addressed earlier.

Remember Age 7

The question so many parents have is: Does my child need to wait until they lose all their baby teeth to get braces? The short answer is no — there’s no need to wait before you consult an orthodontist. As soon as you suspect your child may have a problem, it’s totally fine to bring him or her to a professional, even if your child is younger than 7. At Reuland & Barnhart Orthodontics, we offer a free, no-obligation consult. We’re here to help parents identify what may be a real problem and understand what treatment options are available to help every child have a healthy, functional bite.

Have another question about braces for kids? Let us know!

Reuland Orthodontics Patient Candids 2018 1 3 - The Importance of Early Orthodontic Treatment
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