When Should Your Child Visit the Orthodontist?

It’s important to take your child to the dentist on a regular basis. But, a dentist isn’t the only one who takes care of teeth. There’s also someone called an orthodontist. Read on to learn more about orthodontics and when your child should visit the orthodontist for the first time.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist has a very different job than a dentist. They focus more on the structure of a person’s mouth. Some things they can do are…

  • Straighten teethvisit the orthodontist
  • Fix bite issues
  • Guide teeth into a better position
  • Align the jaw
  • Fix harmful habits
  • Help with chewing
  • Improve your smile

To do so, they use devices like braces and retainers. It’s very common for children and teens to need braces at some point. But, what’s the right age to visit the orthodontist for the first time?

When to Visit the Orthodontist

The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends kids visit the orthodontist no later than age 7. At that age, your child probably has a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth. That’s perfect. It helps the orthodontist see how their smile is developing.

During that first visit, they’ll look for any issues. Some things they’ll look for include:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Overlapping teeth
  • Jaw problems
  • Overbite
  • Underbite

You’ll especially want to see an orthodontist if you have concerns about your child’s teeth and habits. Did they lose their baby teeth very early or very late? Do they suck their thumb? Do they grind or clench their teeth? Kids that breathe through their mouth or have a hard time speaking, biting or chewing can also benefit from a visit to the orthodontist. Overall, just be sure to talk to your orthodontist about these concerns during that first appointment.

Early Action is Key

Keep in mind, that the minor problems that are occurring now can turn into serious problems later. That’s why it’s always a good idea to address them early on so your child can enjoy a healthy smile into adulthood. And, even if your child’s teeth look straight, there could be other concerns going on.

If the orthodontist does see something wrong, don’t worry. They’ll create a plan to help your child’s smile stay on track as they get older. They’ll decide when it’s best for them to be treated, whether that means braces, surgeries, or other treatment.

If your child is older than 7 and hasn’t been to the orthodontist yet, that’s okay, too. The sooner the better, but they can visit one at any time. Many adults also see an orthodontist.

How’s Your Child’s Smile? Schedule a Check-Up Today

Regular visits to the dentist and the orthodontist will keep your child’s smile healthy and beautiful. Schedule an appointment at Tooth Fairy Smiles in Annapolis, MD. Call us at  410-897-1931. The dentist can help you make decisions about when to visit the orthodontist.