Close up of a girl with braces smiling at camera

Orthodontic issues in children can often seem like a normal part of growing up. However, many don’t realize that early assessment and intervention by a dentist can have profound benefits for a child’s health, well-being, and future dental development.

This early approach, often called “interceptive orthodontics,” can address potential problems before they become more serious, leading to simpler, less invasive treatments with more predictable oral health outcomes.

Recognizing the Signs Early

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic assessment no later than age seven. This may seem early, but at this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, allowing orthodontists to diagnose and potentially intercept misalignments or structural issues before they fully develop.

Signs that could indicate the need for an early orthodontic assessment include difficulty in chewing or biting, early or late loss of baby teeth, mouth breathing, thumb sucking, crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth, and jaw shifts or sounds.

The Benefits of Early Intervention

Early intervention in pediatric orthodontics can set the stage for healthier development and fewer complications down the line. It not only facilitates the correct growth of jaws and alignment of teeth but also minimizes the need for more extensive treatments in the future, ensuring your child can enjoy a confident, beautiful smile with less hassle and expense.

Guiding Jaw Growth

During an early orthodontic evaluation, the dentist can monitor and guide the development of their jaws. This early assessment allows for the dentist to identify and address any irregularities in jaw growth.

Proper jaw alignment is critical for several reasons: it ensures there is adequate space for the emergence of permanent teeth, aids in achieving a correct bite, which is important for chewing and speech, and contributes to overall facial symmetry. Addressing these issues at a young age can simplify future treatments, potentially reduce the need for more invasive procedures, and pave the way for better oral health throughout their lives.

Correcting Bad Habits

Habits such as thumb sucking, prolonged use of a bottle, and tongue thrusting can lead to orthodontic issues. The constant pressure and sucking motion from these issues can cause the front teeth to push outward. This can potentially lead to an open bite, where the front teeth in the upper and lower jaw don’t meet when your child’s mouth is closed. It can also affect the roof of the mouth, altering the shape of the hard palate.

An early orthodontic assessment can identify these habits and help in implementing strategies to correct them, thus preventing potential misalignment of teeth or jaw deformities.

Improving Speech and Eating

Misaligned teeth or jaw problems can affect a child’s ability to speak clearly and chew effectively. Misaligned teeth or jaws can make it hard to articulate sounds like “t,” “d,” “s,” and “z.” This leads to issues like lisping, especially with open bites or gaps, as incorrect air flow alters sound production.

Poor tooth alignment can also make chewing difficult, leading children to avoid hard or chewy foods, and limiting their diet and nutrient intake. This often results in preferring softer, less nutritious options, impacting their health, growth, and development.

Early orthodontic treatment can address these issues, leading to improved function. This not only helps in physical health by improving nutrition and digestion but also boosts self-esteem as children become more confident in their speech.

Simplifying Later Treatment

Addressing orthodontic issues early can often reduce the complexity and duration of treatment needed in adolescence or adulthood. This means less time wearing braces or other orthodontic devices, lower costs, and sometimes even avoids the need for surgical interventions.

Secure a Healthy Smile for Tomorrow

Is your child ready for their first orthodontic assessment? Don’t wait for small issues to become big problems. Valley Dental Care of Plainfield can guide your child’s smile on the right path with professional care and compassion.

Our team can provide early orthodontic assessments to ensure your child’s oral health is on track for a bright future. Schedule an appointment today and take the first step toward a lifetime of healthy smiles.

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Are you ready to improve your oral health? Come visit our office in Plainfield to get the best in preventative and restorative care. With just one appointment, you’ll find yourself on the path to your perfect smile.

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