Parents want the best health and emotional wellness for your children. A great smile is a major part of it! As they grow, they’ll be more confident in the way they look. And they’ll be more likely to keep their healthy teeth for the long term by building pride in their smile, along with healthy habits.
When a child’s upper and lower teeth come together in a healthy bite pattern, your child will be able to bite and chew their food better, improving their nutritional intake.
But what age is right to start orthodontics? What treatments are available? Let’s run through the main issues and options parents need to know about.
The most often asked question is what age to start orthodontics. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an initial evaluation for children at about age seven. That age is often when they’ll have a mix of some baby teeth and some adult teeth, which helps us diagnose potential issues to work on.
This is a rule of thumb. But if you notice any major issues developing earlier or later than that, you can call us and bring your child to Macdonald Orthodontics at any age.
After that first exam, we’ll give you any recommendations we have for orthodontic treatments. Of course, your child might not need any interventions. If that’s the case, we’ll tell you.
Does Your Child Need Orthodontic Intervention?
How do you know if your child needs braces or other orthodontic treatments? Are there any signs that you can watch for? Here are a few big ones that you might spot:
- Challenges With Biting or Chewing: After the discomfort of teething is over, a child may continue to experience painful chewing—which might indicate a major issue.
- Mouth Breathing: The habit of mouth breathing can lead to orthodontic issues that we should address.
- Early or Late Baby Tooth Loss: If your child loses one or more baby teeth earlier or later than expected, their teeth may shift in ways we need to correct.
- Clicking or Shifting Jaws: Certain movements of the lower jaw can cause pain and dental problems. We’re experienced in guiding and improving jaw and bite movements.
- Cheek Biting: In a healthy bite, the cheeks stay clear of the biting surfaces of the teeth. If your child is biting their cheeks an unusual number of times, their bite may have an issue that is limiting their ability to chew.
- An Unbalanced Face: A child’s teeth and jaws affect the appearance of their chin, lips, and other features. We are experienced in evaluating this balance and improving it.
If your parental intuition is telling you that your child is experiencing a dental or orthodontic problem, give us a call. We may be able to guide you over the phone or let you know it’s time to schedule an exam.
What Do We Learn in an Orthodontic Exam?
If you bring us your child at around age seven for a routine checkup, we’ll be able to detect potential orthodontic problems. The mix of adult and baby teeth at that age gives us a great idea of the patterns their teeth and bite are developing.
We’ll also be able to answer questions that include:
- What specific orthodontic problems does your child have (if any)?
- What options would correct these problems?
- Is there any chance that a tooth would need to be extracted?
- How much time would a recommended treatment take?
- How much would a recommended treatment cost?
Of course, we’re also happy to answer any other questions you have and spend time with you to help you understand treatment options, payment plans, insurance, and more.
Orthodontic Treatment Options for Children
We offer a full range of orthodontic treatments for kids of all ages, including:
- Braces: Either traditional metal or clear braces.
- Aligners: Clear Invisalign™ aligners.
- Elastics: Rubber bands between the top and bottom rows of braces.
- Mouthguards: Protection for children who play sports.
- Two-Phase Treatments: A plan that prepares a child’s mouth early in life, then finishes orthodontic treatment in a second phase.
Start Your Child’s Orthodontic Treatment Right With Macdonald Orthodontics
Whenever you come to an appointment at Macdonald Orthodontics, you and your family will be treated to ice cream after the appointment! What better way to end a checkup? Call us today if you have any orthodontic questions or want to set up an appointment.