When Should My Child See An Orthodontist?

When Should My Child See An Orthodontist?
Posted on 06/21/2016


Walk through the halls of one of Ashland’s local elementary schools any day and you’ll see a good number of “metal mouths” walking the halls. Many parents are beginning orthodontic treatment for their children earlier and earlier. It may get you wondering, “When should my child see an orthodontist?” Here are a few tips and things to consider before making that first orthodontist appointment in Ashland.

Make Your First Orthodontic Appointment Before Age 7

According to the American Association of Orthodontists your child should have his or her first orthodontic evaluation by 7 years old. By that age, your child will have most of his or her molars in coming in but they still may have some baby teeth. Having some permanent teeth in will give your orthodontist a chance to look at the relationship between the teeth and determine what type of treatment, if any, may be needed.

A First Appointment Doesn’t Mean Immediate Treatment

Just because you have your child’s first appointment by age 7, doesn't mean that he or she will automatically begin any kind of orthodontic treatment right away. Your child’s bite may be perfect. Or, your orthodontist might find problems with teeth that are coming in or the way your jaw is growing that only a professional could find, even if your child’s teeth look straight. Your orthodontist should carefully examine and then evaluate your child to determine if your child needs orthodontic intervention at all, and if so, when.

Orthodontics Is More Than Just Straightening Teeth

While most orthodontic treatments make you have a more attractive smile, treatments are also designed to fix oral health issues that can plague you for a lifetime. It’s true that braces and Invisalign treatments make up the bulk of orthodontic treatments. Simply straightening teeth will make them look better, but it is also important in eliminating the ability for cavities and gum disease to form in your mouth and between your crooked teeth.

Besides crooked teeth, many children suffer from malocclusion, which is a misalignment of their jaws. This can take the form of an overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite or crowded teeth, to name a few more common problems. Some of the things you might find that may change the shape and structure of your jaw include:

  • cleft lip and palate
  • Constant use of a pacifier after the age of 3
  • prolonged use of bottle feeding in early childhood
  • thumb sucking in early childhood
  • injuries that result in the misalignment of the jaw
  • tumors in the mouth or jaw
  • abnormally shaped or impacted teeth
  • poor dental care that results in improperly fitting dental fillings, crowns, or braces

Fixing these jaw problems will make you look better, but it is also necessary to help reverse the symptoms of malocclusion by helping you chew properly, keeping you from biting the inside of your jaw or tongue, helping speech problems, allowing you to breath through your mouth and more.

The time to start orthodontic treatment depends entirely on the specific condition of each child, but having that first evaluation early can give you an idea of what treatments may be needed now or later. If you’re looking for an Ashland orthodontist who has your child’s best interests and needs at heart, call Dr. Pardo at Pardo Orthodontics today at (508) 881-4107. Dr. Pardo is a board certified orthodontic specialist and will be happy to answer any questions you have about your child’s condition and treatment options and looks forward to working with you to keep your family’s oral health in tip-top shape.