Does your child need braces? One of the best ways to know if they do or not is to schedule an orthodontic evaluation with our kids dentist in Brighton.
What is the Best Age for Orthodontic Treatment?
At what age should a child be referred for an orthodontic examination? Pediatric dentists and orthodontic experts recommend that all children have an orthodontic screening by age 7.
Why 7 years old? Because at this point in your child’s oral development, they have a healthy mix of both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth. Anything that needs attention that early on can be guided into a healthier position as the jaws and teeth are continuing to develop.
When we evaluate a child’s smile this early on, we can potentially intercept major growth issues before they evolve into serious bite problems. For instance, impacted adult teeth, severe crowding, TMJ problems, or serious overbites. Modifying the growth patterns can encourage a more balanced facial profile while the bone and teeth fall into a healthier, more functional alignment.
While getting braces as an older teen or adult is doable, it’s optimal to start them while children are still growing and their bones are not fully developed just yet. Since we can use orthodontic appliances to adjust anatomical features, early braces can essentially bypass the need for surgical corrections or more intensive therapies at a later stage in life. Fortunately, a lot of children today have access to braces when their parents may have not.
What is Orthodontic Screening?
A pediatric orthodontic screening is part of your child’s dental exam—or a stand-alone dental assessment—where we evaluate the growth patterns and anatomy of their teeth and jaws. We will also look at eruption patterns (including unerupted adult teeth) and swallowing patterns since your child’s tongue movements can guide tooth positioning.
During an orthodontic evaluation, we might also take a full-mouth X-ray to evaluate the growth of the jaws and tooth development.
Parents can ask a pediatric dentist to conduct an orthodontic assessment, or they can bring their child to an orthodontist. Fortunately, at Kids City Dental, we offer complete kids dentistry and braces under one roof! There’s no need to ask for a separate referral.
Will My Child Need Braces?
Not every child needs braces. Early pediatric orthodontic screenings allow us to keep an eye on things or monitor oral development as your child grows. It might be that we only need to assess certain growth patterns at their routine checkup, instead of going straight into braces. If that’s the case, we will check your child’s occlusion (the way the teeth bite together) at every six-month checkup and compare it to their previous visit.
For kids who do need braces, early treatment usually consists of “Phase I” or “early intervention.” This type of orthodontic therapy is used for modifying growth patterns and tooth positioning as your child grows. Essentially, it sets your child’s mouth up for balanced, healthier anatomy that will function at an optimal level. Usually, we fine-tune their final tooth alignment with “Phase II” or traditional braces a few years later.
When children don’t need early intervention but still need to straighten their teeth, traditional orthodontics are usually put on when they’re closer to 13-14 years old. Just be sure to go ahead and have them screened early, even if things seem completely fine.
Pediatric Orthodontic Screenings Near You
At Kids City Dental, our office provides in-house orthodontic exams and pediatric dentistry services for children of all ages. If you’re searching for an orthodontist or pediatric dentist in Brighton, our kid-focused general practice is exactly what you’ve been looking for! Contact us today to reserve your child’s next appointment.