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When to Take Your Child to the Orthodontist
With children, timing of orthodontics can be tricky. Treatment usually works best after all permanent teeth have came in, but what about children that have misalignment due to overcrowding, jaw misalignment or thumb-sucking and can’t afford to wait? While there are some general guidelines to follow, the ideal time to tale your child to the orthodontist is always best determined by his or her individual needs.
Typical Guidelines for Orthodontic Treatment
Braces and Invisalign are both a long-term commitment for both you and your children, so you want to make sure that the timing is right. Assuming all your child’s teeth grow in correctly and are not causing any other problems, you can begin orthodontic treatment confidently at age 11-13. Most permanent teeth have grown in by the age of 12, which makes the next two years ideal for beginning treatment.
Important Exceptions and Early Treatment
With that said, everyone’s smile is unique, meaning that it can develop differently and cause exceptions to the above guidelines. While your kids still have their baby teeth, its important to take them to their dentist regularly to monitor the development of their jaw and teeth. You should also take your children to see an orthodontist between the ages of 8 and 9, before they lose all their baby teeth. An orthodontist will be able to determine if they have any potential issues with their dental development and start planning an early treatment plan. Early treatment is meant to either prevent or treat problems that are noticed early on in the development process, in order to prevent more serious and severe problems from developing. After the orthodontist has created a personalized early treatment plan, actual treatment wouldn’t begin until around age 8-10. This early phase of treatment is necessary in only one third of patients.
Watch Development Closely
Determining the best time to take your child to the orthodontist begins in the dentist office. We recommend taking your child with you to bi-annual appointments where you can monitor all changes. After baby teeth fall out, your dentist will continue to look for problems and refer you to an orthodontist at the first sign of trouble.
If you’re unsure whether your child need early treatment, you can always schedule a complimentary consultation with us for more information.