Early Treatment

What Parents Should Know about Early Orthodontic Exams and Treatment

Children can have complex dental health concerns, so it is understandable that parents have many questions when it comes to orthodontics for kids. Your family dentist may have told you to schedule an appointment with an Ashland orthodontist around your child’s seventh birthday. This appointment is simply an evaluation that checks on the alignment of your young patient’s bite and their emerging permanent teeth. Dr. Diana Pardo has helped many children – and parents – learn more about their oral health through these early treatment appointments.

Early Evaluation Provides Valuable Information

Family dentists provide many valuable services, including regular cleanings, dental fillings, and exams. An orthodontist is a special kind of dental health care provider that specializes in tooth alignment concerns. An evaluation conducted around age seven is important to ensure that permanent teeth are emerging in an optimal manner, creating a stable and secure bite. If no misalignment is detected, then no further action needs to be taken at this time. If a misalignment is identified, your orthodontist may recommend treatment sometime in the future or relatively soon. Sometimes minor alignment concerns are detected. An orthodontist might choose to wait and see before recommending any particular course of treatment.

Parents should know about the alignment concerns affecting their child’s oral health. This early exam is the best way to learn the facts and to get answers to any questions you might have.

Why Does Tooth Alignment Matter?

Gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites – these might seem like purely cosmetic concerns but in reality they can have several negative consequences. For instance:

  • Misaligned teeth can be hard to clean adequately. Food particles can get stuck in small spaces and facilitate the growth of harmful bacteria, which can gradually harm gum tissue and lead to periodontal disease.
  • Teeth that stick out of alignment too far are vulnerable to chipping, cracking, or breaking. These teeth can also cause harm to lips and cheek tissue.
  • Misalignments can cause progressive problems. If a few teeth are not in an optimal position, other teeth can end up crowded as additional permanent teeth emerge.
  • Tooth enamel can wear down unevenly as a result of chewing and biting with teeth that are not correctly aligned. Worn tooth enamel is more vulnerable to damage.
  • Some misalignments may contribute to the development of speech impediments, which can make education challenging.

Correcting orthodontic misalignments might seem intimidating to parents and children alike. This process is actually quite simple and can set the stage for a lifetime of improved oral health.

What Can Be Done?

If a misalignment is identified, your orthodontist may recommend alignment therapy with the help of braces. Orthodontic treatment often begins anywhere from age 9 – 12, though some misalignments require earlier treatment. Braces gradually guide teeth into an optimal position over the course of several months. A retainer is used for a few months following the removal of braces to ensure that teeth settle fully into place.

Get Answers Straight from an Orthodontist

Our Ashland, MA, office is easy to reach. We are located on the north side of Eliot Street, just west of the Pond Street intersection. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Pardo by calling (508) 881-4107 or by using our online appointment request form.