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Growing Smiles: Exploring the Significance of Age 7 in Your Child’s Orthodontic Journey

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Child's Orthodontic JourneyAs a parent, ensuring the optimal oral health and development of your child is a top priority. One vital aspect of their well-being is their dental alignment and bite, which can significantly impact their overall oral health and self-esteem. Many parents wonder when the right time is to consult an orthodontist for their child. Surprisingly, the answer might be earlier than you think – around the age of seven. Your child’s orthodontic journey is important!

Up to now, orthodontic treatment was often associated with the teen years, but modern dentistry has evolved, and early intervention has proven to be highly beneficial. In fact, according to the American Association of Orthodontists’ new Consumer Awareness Program campaign, children should have their first orthodontic evaluation done by the age of seven. While this may seem surprising, there are actually valid reasons for this updated recommendation.

Primary and Permanent Teeth

Around age seven, most children already have a mixture of baby teeth and permanent teeth. This allows our orthodontists to get a clear picture of your child’s dental development. This is the age when certain dental issues become noticeable, even though they might not yet need treatment. By identifying these problems early, our orthodontist can create a strategic plan for your child’s orthodontic journey moving forward.

Teeth Crowding

One common issue that can be identified at this age is crowding. If the jaw is not large enough to accommodate the growing permanent teeth, crowding can occur, leading to misalignment and potential bite problems. By addressing this issue early, our orthodontists can guide the growth of your child’s jaw and make sufficient space for incoming teeth. This also helps minimize the need for more invasive treatments later.

-Palatal Expansion: This correction widens the upper jaw and mitigates crowding within exceptionally narrow arches. This approach is most effective while your child is still in their growth phase. For younger children, palatal expansion could potentially minimize the necessity for tooth extractions and avert issues with impacted teeth. Conversely, unaddressed issues during the developmental years may require corrective surgery during adulthood and potentially result in irregular dental wear or bite complications.

Tooth Extraction: Sometimes the removal of baby teeth or impacted teeth can facilitate the smoother eruption of permanent teeth, encouraging them to assume positions closer to their optimal alignment even without orthodontic appliances. Our orthodontists will recommend the optimal timing for extractions to capitalize on your child’s growth and development.

Bite Issues

Another orthodontic issue that can be spotted now is the presence of bite problems, including overbites, underbites and crossbites. These problems, if left untreated, can impact your child’s speech, eating habits and even facial structure. Catching these problems early allows our orthodontists to intervene during the growth phase, often making treatment more effective and reducing the time needed for braces or other orthodontic appliances.

Wait and See?

Early intervention doesn’t always mean early orthodontic treatment. In many cases, our orthodontists might recommend a “wait and see” approach, observing your child’s development over time and intervening only when necessary. This can help ensure that the right orthodontic treatment is provided at the optimal time, saving you time and money, along with your child’s potential discomfort.

Complimentary Consultation

Age seven is a pivotal time to evaluate your child’s orthodontic health. Scheduling your child’s orthodontic evaluation can offer invaluable insights into their dental development and potential issues that might arise. Early intervention often leads to simpler, more effective orthodontic treatment down the line, setting your child on a path toward a healthy and confident smile as they grow. To schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our skilled orthodontists, Dr. Jeff, Dr. Soo and Dr. Betina, please reach out to one of our five convenient locations, Granville, Powell, Newark, Westerville, New Albany or Pataskala, Ohio.