Today we are excited to welcome a guest post from FFC advertiser, Edward Desatnik, D.D.S. to Family Friendly Cincinnati. Often as parents we are not sure when our child(ren) should make their first trip to visit the orthodontist. Today Dr. Desatnik shares his recommendation as well as some of the thoughts behind it.
A common question I hear from parents is what age they should schedule their child for an orthodontic treatment. Seven years of age is what is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontics and is what I recommend too.
Below are some reasons why:
1. We can determine whether his/her jaws are wide enough to accommodate the adult teeth. If the jaw is not wide enough, while your child is growing is ideal to use an appliance called a palatal expander that will expand the upper palate or a functional regulating appliance to expand the space for teeth in both jaws.
2. If your child has an underdeveloped lower jaw, we can use the Herbst Appliance which is effective in creating jaw changes. If your child has an underdeveloped upper jaw, there is an appliance that can be used to move the upper jaw forward at an early age.
3. If your child breaths through his/her mouth because of an obstructive airway, it may be caused by enlarged adenoids or a narrow palate. While the palatal expander will expand the jaw, it will also enlarge the insides of the nose allowing for a better airway. We may also advise a parent to get an evaluation of the child’s adenoid tissue.
4. If your child has a habit such as thumb or finger sucking or teeth clenching, we may use a bite plate or habit breaking appliance to try to stop the behavior.
5. Sometimes without realizing it children may hold their tongue forward or to one side which my produce an open bite in the front or side teeth. It is sometimes possible to use an appliance to help train and adjust the tongue position.
6. If your child has missing or malplaced teeth, we may recommend removal of some baby teeth which are causing the problem.
7. If your child lost his/her baby teeth early, that may cause his/her permanent teeth to drift into that space. This may require repositioning of the permanent teeth in order to allow for normal teeth eruption.
For the majority of children, orthodontic treatment can wait but it is still a good idea for us to see a child around the age of 7 because some substantive changes may be lost by waiting.