Parents often think their child doesn’t need to see an orthodontist before all their permanent teeth grow in. Unfortunately, this is a misconception that can cause harm in the long run. The information below provides an overview of why your child should see an orthodontist early on.
What’s Happening Under the Surface
The human body is amazing in how it develops from childhood to adulthood. There are natural processes that most people simply don’t understand. For instance, what’s happening with a child’s teeth is more than just what’s visible. There is a more comprehensive growth process at around the age of six that includes the jaw, bones and face. This includes molars that have grown by this age. There is also the teeth exchange that occurs when permanent teeth start to replace baby teeth.
The exchange of teeth is something that usually occurs like clockwork, but sometimes there are issues that you don’t’ know about. It’s because the gums cover a large portion of each tooth and this includes the bone that’s responsible for keeping teeth where they belong. As a result, it’s possible for a problem to exist but you don’t know about it. Sometimes there are clues that will be an indication of a problem. For instance, when a child loses their baby teeth later or earlier than normal, this can be an indication of a problem.
Other issues that you should look out for is problems biting, chewing, breathing or speaking. The key is to address these concerns before all your child’s permanent teeth have grown in, otherwise it will become a much more difficult process.
Importance of a Healthy Bite
One of the functions of an orthodontic specialist is to make sure children have a healthy bite. Most people focus on the smile, but it starts with making sure the bite is what it needs to be for optimal results. Every child is different, which means the timing will depend on their individual growth. There are many instances when it isn’t necessary for a child to receive any early orthodontic treatments because everything is in order.
It’s possible for your child to need treatment early on for the purpose of guiding the growth of the bones located in the lower and upper jaws. Sometimes an orthodontist will need to make room for permanent teeth to grow in the way they should. Making sure jaws and teeth are in proper alignment is the basis of a beautiful smile.
Perspective of Dentists and Orthodontists
Most parents understand that they need a pediatric dentist for their child. It’s simply a good way of making sure their child develops good dental care habits that can be sustained for a lifetime. What you may not know is that dentists and orthodontists look at a child’s mouth differently. While both are experts in dentistry, they have different perspectives. Dentists promote great overall oral hygiene, while orthodontists are focused on the bite.
When you take your child to a dentist, they will look for tooth decay and other conditions that might impact the health and appearance of your child’s teeth. This is often done with bite wing x-rays to pinpoint the problem. An orthodontist will take panoramic x-rays, which enables them to examine what’s happening below the gums. As you can imagine, both are important if you want your child to grow up with a bright smile. The bottom line is that your child should see an orthodontic specialist as soon you think a problem may exist. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
To find a specialist in Texas, visit the Texas Association of Orthodontists online directory.