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Many parents overlook their child’s orthodontic health.
Though they schedule regular appointments with the dentist from an early age, the vast majority of parents wait until their children are in their early teens before bringing them into the orthodontist’s office for a checkup and to determine whether braces or Invisalign may be necessary.
From our experience, there is an uncertainty that exists regarding the right time that a child should see an orthodontist for an initial evaluation.
I want to address some of the more common misconceptions and questions we face with the hope of providing some clarity on the subject for you and your family.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have an initial evaluation with an orthodontist at the age of 7. This is not so we can put braces on your child even earlier.
In fact, we recommend some form of orthodontic treatment in only a fraction of the young kids we see. However, this appointment is valuable to identify developing orthodontic issues or orthodontic issues that may already be present.
“Why 7 Years Old?” Around age 6 or 7, some of the adults, permanent front teeth have come in as well as the first set of adult molars, appropriately nicknamed the “six-year-molars.”
When these key dental “landmarks” are in, an orthodontist can identify how a child’s bite is likely to develop over the following years. With the help of one panoramic x-ray, we can also identify if your child is naturally missing any adult teeth (5% of the population is), as well as identify deviations from normal tooth eruption, which may lead to complications down the road.
Here’s the challenge: By this time, dental and facial development is much farther along, which means any potential issues have already begun to set in. It can be much more difficult at this time to reverse the damage. Occasionally, experts have to recommend surgery to restructure a malformed jaw before the problem gets any worse.
Though common wisdom may dictate that orthodontic health is mostly a concern for older patients, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children undergo an orthodontic evaluation at least once by the time they turn 7.
This procedure, called Phase I Interceptive Treatment, allows an orthodontist to determine whether early intervention may be necessary long before facial development has halted.
This early evaluation is especially important for patients with malocclusion, impacted teeth, or non-optimum dentition. In many cases, treatment can probably wait. But if not, catching an issue early can save you hundreds of dollars, a lot of pain, and numerous health issues down the road.
Because of our diligence for the best practices in child Orthodontics, patients at Alborzi Orthodontics can undergo an early evaluation completely free of charge. We take a close look at your child’s jaw and facial development to decide whether we can assist their natural growth patterns with orthodontics.
This way, we can help create space and allow teeth to erupt in their correct positions. Not only can this save tons of money in orthodontic work later, it can even prevent surgical intervention in serious cases.
If you have a young child who hasn’t been to see an orthodontist yet, there’s no time like the present.
Give the experts at Alborzi Orthodontics a call at 650-342-4171 today, and take the first step toward your child’s lifelong orthodontic health without spending a penny!
About the Author: Dr. Alexa Alborzi is a certified orthodontic specialist providing comprehensive orthodontic care for the children, teens, and adults of San Mateo and Half Moon Bay. Dr. Alborzi earned her BA. degree in Biochemistry from University of California, Berkeley was trained at University of California San Francisco, School of Dentistry. Additionally, Dr. Alborzi was voted by her community in 2019 as the Bay Area Best of the Best.