When Should I Take My Child to See an Orthodontist?

Jan 20, 2023 | Pediatric Dentistry

Caring for your child’s teeth is very important, and taking them to see an orthodontist at the right age is key. An orthodontist specializes in correcting misaligned teeth and jaws, as well as providing advice on how to prevent future problems. This article will outline what parents should consider when deciding when it’s time to take their child to visit an orthodontist.

Benefits of Orthodontic Care

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age seven. Starting early leads to a number of benefits, such as:

Early Detection

Early detection of problems like overcrowding, misalignment and bite issues can help your child get the treatment they need sooner rather than later. Catching any potential problems early will also help to prevent more serious dental issues like tooth decay and even gum disease in the future. 

Improved Self-Esteem

Misaligned teeth and jaw issues can be embarrassing for children, leading to low self-confidence. Visiting an orthodontic specialist at an early age can help address these issues before they become more severe. By taking your child to see an orthodontist early on, you are helping them to develop a healthier and more positive outlook on their dental hygiene.

Proper Jaw Development

The jaw is still growing during the pre-teen years, and an orthodontist can help to ensure that your child’s jaw develops properly. Orthodontists are able to monitor any misalignments in the jaw and take steps to correct them before they become serious. This helps to safeguard against any potential problems later in life. 

When Should I Take My Child?

It’s difficult for parents to know when it is time to take their child to see an orthodontic specialist, but the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get a check-up by age 7. This is because at this age, the majority of permanent teeth have come in and any problems can be identified and addressed early on.

Signs to Look Out For

If you notice any of the following signs, it may be time to take your child in for an orthodontic check-up: Difficulty biting or chewing food, mouth breathing, thumb sucking after the age of five, trouble speaking or enunciating words properly, crowding teeth or shifting jawline.

 Visiting a Pediatric Dentist

In some cases it might be best to start with a pediatric dentist before visiting an orthodontist. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to work with children and can often identify any issues that may require orthodontic treatment. If a pediatric dentist does not believe your child needs an orthodontist, they will let you know.

Cost of Orthodontic Treatment

Cost is an important factor when it comes to deciding if your child should see an orthodontist. Many insurance plans cover pediatric dental visits, but coverage for orthodontic care varies widely. It’s best to contact your insurer before making an appointment to ensure that the costs are covered.

Conclusion

Taking your child to see an orthodontist at the right age can provide many benefits in terms of their overall dental health and wellbeing. Early detection of any potential problems can help to prevent more serious issues from developing in the future, as well as improving your child’s self-esteem. However, it is important to remember that cost is a factor when deciding if this is the right option for your family.

FAQs

Q: Where can I find a pediatric dentist near me?

A: You can look up local pediatric dentists online or ask your primary care physician for recommendations.

Q: How much does orthodontic care typically cost?

A: The cost of orthodontic care will depend on what type of treatment you are looking for, as well as your insurance coverage. It’s best to contact your insurance provider before making an appointment to find out what is covered.

Q: Can I wait until my child is a teenager before taking them in for an orthodontic check-up?

A: It’s best to take your child in by age 7, as this will give the orthodontist the most accurate picture of their teeth and bite development. Waiting until later can lead to more serious issues or even complications down the line.

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