The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist by age 7. This age is chosen because most children have their upper and lower front teeth as well as their first permanent molars (6 year molars). While most children do not need treatment at age 7, it is important to identify dental and skeletal problems at this age. Seeing an Atlanta orthodontist and becoming acquainted with an office also allows children to become comfortable with the environment and with the idea of beginning orthodontic treatment should treatment ever be necessary.
At Silver Smiles, our desire is to treat the patient one time, at the right time. We are very conservative and only utilize early treatment when it is absolutely necessary. That being said, it is important to evaluate a child to monitor dental eruption and skeletal growth. Through the evaluation process, the doctors will determine if a problem is getting worse, if selective removal of baby teeth to aid in the eruption of the permanent teeth would be beneficial, and the appropriate time for treatment should it be necessary.
For children that do not require early treatment, we enter them in to the Silver Smiles Development Supervision Program. The program includes:
- an initial consultation with our Atlanta orthodontist (Midtown or Snellville)
- orthodontic records (pictures, xrays, and molds of the teeth)
- growth and eruption check-ups with the orthodontist at 6 to 9 month intervals
- any additional photographs and x-rays that should be required
- recommendations for treatment, interventions, or early treatment required will be made at the appropriate time
- most children will not require any interceptive treatment and full braces will be recommended once their permanent teeth have come in
It’s not always easy to tell when your child has an orthodontic problem. Even teeth that look straight may be hiding an unhealthy bite. Here are some clues that may indicate the need for orthodontic attention:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Breathing through the mouth
- Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that are too far forward or back
- Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Protruding teeth
- Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
- An unbalanced facial appearance
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
Putting off a check-up with an orthodontist until a child has lost all baby teeth could be a disservice. Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they’re found early. A check-up no later than age 7 gives your orthodontist the opportunity to recommend the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. If early treatment is in order, the orthodontist may be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing, which could simplify or prevent a second phase of treatment. At Silver Smiles, our goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.