The AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) recommends that children first be seen by an orthodontist around the age of 7. At this screening, the orthodontist will make sure no major problems are being overlooked and that all of the teeth are developing and erupting correctly. The screening generally includes x-rays and pictures along with an oral evaluation. Here at KCC Orthodontics we provide the screening completely complimentary.
What are some possible problematic situations the orthodontist looks for at an early age?
- Premature loss of baby teeth – baby teeth are space maintainers for permanent teeth. Early loss of these space maintainers can lead to blocking out of permanent teeth, trapping them from erupting properly.
- Not losing baby teeth in the correct order – the orthodontist can monitor this process and even direct the general dentist in removing baby teeth when absolutely necessary.
- Cross bites/Under bites/Jaw alignment – this is when the lower teeth erupt on the outside or in front of the upper teeth. This is one problem that really should be addressed as early as possible due to possible incorrect growth of the bone during development, or excessive damage to teeth since they are contacting incorrectly.
- Finger sucking habits – Sucking on thumbs or fingers can cause the teeth to come in at unwanted angles or even cause the bone to begin growing in an unhealthy shape. There are some simple tricks and appliances that can help break this harmful habit.
- Severe crowding – the orthodontist can evaluate if your child absolutely needs some early braces to allow permanent teeth to be able to come in with adequate room, or many times the orthodontist can direct the dentist to extract certain teeth at appropriate times to allow all teeth to come in and not become stuck/impacted.
We look for all the above issues and more at your complimentary consultation with Dr. Gutierrez at KCC Orthodontics. Starting early orthodontic treatment is crucial in some cases (about 5-10% of the time), but most kiddos ages 7-10 will not need any interceptive orthodontic treatment. In these cases, we will put you on an OBSERVATION PROTOCOL and see you approximately every 12 months to continue to evaluate your child. It is always in your best interest to get a quick look and make sure your child is on track with their teeth eruption patterns and bone growth and development. Timing is everything, at KCC Orthodontics our goal is to monitor your child’s development to make sure your child is in braces the least amount of time with getting the very best outcome.