A child’s first visit to the orthodontist should happen no later than age 7. The reason for this is because the child will have a mixture of adult and baby teeth by this time. Once they have a few adult teeth, it provides a wealth of information to the doctor about how the rest of the teeth and the jaw are going to develop. Some orthodontic issues are going to be easier to correct if early intervention happens, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. Here’s a closer look at the importance of early orthodontic treatment.
Early Treatment Prevents Long-Term Problems
When your child has their first visit with Dr. Valderrama, there is likely to be one of these three outcomes:
- No treatment recommended
- Treatment recommended later on, so the doctor will monitor the growth of the teeth and jaw
- Early treatment recommended
Some problems that are detected have better outcomes in the long run if early treatment happens. An issue with a person’s “bite” or jaw alignment can result in the need for surgery later in life. If your orthodontist can correct that problem while the child is young, the need for surgery can be avoided and the problem will likely be less expensive to treat.
Early Treatment Helps with Speech Issues
Does your child slur their speech or have a lisp? Do they mispronounce the letters ‘T’ or ‘S’? These are very common speech problems in children, but a lot of people don’t realize that they can be caused by a misalignment of the teeth or jaw. If a problem like this can be corrected in your child’s teeth or jaw at an early stage, their speech problem won’t be an issue later on in school or in life.
Early Treatment Improves Self Esteem
Many children struggle with self-esteem as they grow up. Misaligned teeth can cause harm to a child’s confidence levels. Low self-esteem can in turn have an impact on their outcomes in school and career later in life. Most kids love being fitted with braces, because it means a straighter smile is on the way — and all their friends in school know it too! Your child can even choose the color of the bands on their braces, which lets them personalize the experience. The confidence provided by a great smile is something your child will be able to carry with them for the rest of their life.
Lowered Risk of Cavities & Tooth Decay
When a person has straight teeth, it makes it easier to brush and floss for the rest of their life. Crooked teeth usually leave spots in the mouth that are harder (or impossible) to reach with a toothbrush. This means that the bacteria that cause plaque and tooth decay have a hiding spot in the mouth, and this can lead to cavities in hard-to-treat areas. If an orthodontist corrects the alignment of your child’s teeth when they’re young, they’re likely to have good oral health as an adult.
Reduces Teeth Grinding at Night
Nighttime teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common problem that your child might not even realize they have. If your child experiences frequent headaches or neck pain, it could be due to grinding their teeth when they’re asleep. This problem is often caused by a misalignment of the jaw. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to a more serious condition called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. A badly misaligned jaw that goes untreated for years might even require the help of an oral surgeon to correct it in adulthood.
Food has to be thoroughly chewed in order for proper digestion to take place. And proper digestion is really important for a child’s development. A misaligned “bite” can mean that your child is unable to properly chew their food, resulting in poor digestion. Correcting teeth and jaw alignment at an early age ensures better lifelong health outcomes when it comes to nutrition.
Schedule An Appointment Today
If your child has crooked teeth or any of the problems described above, we recommend that you Contact Us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Valderrama. We serve patients in the Melbourne, Suntree, Viera, and Rockledge area.