There is much more to taking care of your children’s teeth than teaching them how to brush, and taking them to the dentist to fix the occasional cavity. Most parents realize that getting their children to begin flossing, as well as getting their teeth professionally cleaned, are also key elements of modern oral hygiene, but beyond that, is there anything else you should be doing?
What many families don’t fully appreciate is the importance of getting their children examined by an orthodontist at an early age, in addition to their regular dental check-up. While many parents think that such an exam is only about getting braces for their children’s teeth, there is really much more to this type of dentistry than meets the eye.
Why an Orthodontist?
Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the physical alignment of the teeth and jaw. And while the main tools of an orthodontist are braces, retainers, Invisalign, etc. – the goal of Wright Orthodontics is much more than just creating a pretty smile.
Orthodontic techniques, such as braces and expanders, are principally designed to correct problems that prevent proper eating, sleeping, and speaking. The fact is that when your child’s teeth or jaws are not lined up correctly, it can impact how they chew, talk, sleep, smile – and yes – even how they feel about themselves.
The conditions that orthodontists look to correct most frequently range from misaligned teeth and over-crowding to jaw growth issues. Any one of these problems can lead to headaches, poor mastication, snoring, and even pronounced susceptibility to decay from teeth that are difficult to reach while brushing.
When to Begin Orthodontic Exams
Even for parents who are aware of the importance of braces and orthodontic care generally, the question of when their children should first begin such treatment still causes a good deal of confusion. Should parents wait until their children begin to exhibit conditions such as crooked teeth, or complain of tooth positioning problems – or should they act much sooner?
The American Association of Orthodontists and most orthodontists agree that a child’s first exam should occur sometime around their 7th birthday. This enables the orthodontist to spot issues requiring treatment early, and to set up an effective treatment routine to address them. Based on their findings, the orthodontist can recommend anything from no treatment at all, to a carefully designed plan to improve their condition. The goal of each of these procedures is to minimize future treatment and reduce the need to extract healthy permanent teeth.
Proper orthodontic care for your children may start early, but pays dividends by catching potential costly problems before they develop. And the fact that orthodontic treatments create gorgeous smiles, is an added – and very welcome bonus.
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