Parents ask us all the time whether they should have their child evaluated for orthodontic treatment even though they still have baby teeth. Our answer is always YES!
Why do we want to see children even as young as age six?
There are several reasons and here they are:
1. They have a persistent thumb, finger or tongue habit.
These types of habits should be eliminated by the time your child enters kindergarten. If left untreated, they could cause the teeth to be pushed out too far and the jaws to grow in the wrong direction. Furthermore, speech problems as well as eating difficulties are quite common in children with these persistent habits.
2. They have upper teeth that are behind the lower teeth (also called an underbite).
This is a very severe problem that should be treated at a young age while the child is still growing. The upper jaw in these cases is not growing at the same rate as the lower jaw. Often, these problems, if left to the teenage years, will result in extensive orthodontic work and even jaw surgery to fully correct.
3. They have teeth that protrude out too far.
This problem is commonly related to a thumb or finger habit, but can also be growth related. The lower jaw is not growing at the same rate as the upper jaw. The biggest problem in children with severely protruding teeth is that they can fall and break or crack a tooth, which will result in extensive dental work for the rest of their lives. It also can cause extreme wear of their back teeth and, even later in life, jaw problems.
4. Not enough room for the adult teeth to come in.
This is a common problem that we see daily. Often the parent tells us that their child lost baby teeth months ago and there is no sign of any adult teeth. They get worried. Most of the time there is a crowding problem and the jaws are too small and narrow. Early intervention with expansion-type appliances can make room without the need for extractions.
5. Mouth breathing, snoring, teeth grinding.
All of these can be associated with a bad bite, narrow arches, crowding, and habits. Early intervention can provide a solution for your child to help them breathe better and sleep better too. Studies show that many children who do not sleep well at night have problems focusing at school and experience excessive daytime sleepiness.
If you are concerned about any of these problems, please feel free to contact our office for a complimentary exam and consultation. We do not charge for this exam – we simply want you to have the information you need to make the right decisions regarding the health and wellness of your children.