When Should I Take My Kid To The Orthodontist?

Team Orthodontics

Children should be seen by an orthodontist by the age of seven, according to the American Academy of Orthodontics. However, there are plenty of reasons you may want to take your child to the orthodontist even earlier. Early orthodontic treatment can help to prevent problems later. Early prevention is often easier than after-the-fact corrective treatment.

Reasons Children Need to See An Orthodontist When They Are Young

Early orthodontic intervention can help prevent a host of future dental problems in children. Many conditions should be corrected as young as possible, as children’s jaws tend to respond very well to early treatment. This is because their bones are not yet fully developed or fused, making them more malleable. Seeing an orthodontist young can provide the following benefits:

  • Create space in the mouth for adult teeth
  • Correct problems with an open bite or crossbite
  • Reduce risk of injury due to protruding front teeth
  • Save space for teeth that haven’t yet come in
  • Reduce the need for tooth extractions
  • Reduce the duration of future orthodontic treatments. 

Signs Your Child Should See an Orthodontist

You should see an orthodontist if your pediatric dentist recommends it. Your dentist may identify warning signs that your child will need early intervention. Other warning signs that your child may need early orthodontic treatment include: 

  • Thumb sucking past the age of four
  • Trouble chewing
  • Tooth grinding
  • Malocclusion (underbite, overbite, crossbite)
  • Cheek-biting
  • Crowded teeth
  • Clicking, or popping sounds when chewing
  • Baby teeth that won’t fall out
  • Baby teeth that fall out very early
  • Breathing through the mouth 

Types of Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

At Las Cruces Orthodontics, common orthodontic treatment for young children typically focuses on creating more space in the mouth. This is accomplished through the use of orthodontic appliances such as a palatal expander or space maintainer.

A palatal expander may be recommended to widen your child’s upper jaw. This can help prevent crowding and aid in tooth and jaw alignment. Space maintainers are also common orthodontic devices for children. They are typically recommended if your child loses their baby teeth very early. They keep other teeth from drifting into the space that will be needed for the adult teeth when they erupt.

How Often Does My Child Need to See an Orthodontist?

If no major concerns are identified at your child’s first orthodontic appointment, plan to take them once a year, until your orthodontist instructs you to bring them more frequently. If orthodontic treatment begins, you’ll need to follow your orthodontic’s recommended schedule for follow-up visits. 

Orthodontic Treatment for All Ages in Las Cruces

At Las Cruces Orthodontics, Dr. Coombs and his incredible team provide orthodontic treatment to patients of all ages. From providing orthodontic devices such as space maintainers and palatal expanders to young children to braces for adults, Dr. Coombs is here to help every member of your family achieve a straight, even smile. Located on Commerce Drive in Las Cruces, Dr. Coombs provides premium orthodontic care to residents of Las Cruces, Deming, Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, and surrounding communities. To schedule an orthodontic consultation for your child, contact us today at 575-640-3367, or request a consultation.