What’s the Best Age for an Ortho Consult?

good age for ortho consult

good age for ortho consultSan Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

It’s a common myth that patients must wait until all of their adult teeth erupt before getting braces. While many people don’t get braces until they are older, that doesn’t mean it’s the right approach. Orthodontists in the Bay Area are learning that early intervention could lessen the length of time that teens or adults spend in braces or eliminate it entirely. Today on the blog, Bay Area dentists at Glen Park Dental answer the question, what’s the best age for an ortho consult?

Whether or not you think that your child will need braces at some point, a child should receive their first ortho consult around seven years of age. At this age, your child has likely lost quite a few baby teeth, and adult teeth have emerged, resulting in what we call a mixed dentition. It is during this stage that most orthodontic concerns can be identified by the dentist.

Here are four main things that the dentist will look for during your child’s ortho consult

  1. How the upper and lower jaws are forming.
  2. Alignment of teeth as they are erupting.
  3. Checking for impacted teeth.
  4. Checking for ectopic canine (eye teeth that grow sideways)

Why dentists recommend early orthodontic intervention for kids

It’s during this early stage in life that orthodontic treatment can be most effective by guiding the erupting adult teeth into proper alignment. A child’s jawbone is still developing, and so it’s easier to encourage proper alignment instead of waiting until the jawbone is fully developed and then try to move teeth around. While braces for adults are still effective and recommended when needed, treatment may take longer.

It’s about more than just straight teeth

You might not be too concerned with whether or not your child’s teeth are perfectly straight. But the repercussions of crooked teeth go far beyond looks.

Straight teeth reduce the risk of TMJ disorder and orofacial myofunctional disorders, which could lead to:

  • Jaw pain
  • Facial swelling
  • Chronic headaches
  • Chewing difficulties (reverse swallow, tongue thrust, etc.)
  • Open mouth posture
  • Mouth breathing
  • Airway disorders
  • Sleep apnea
  • Damaged teeth

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Intervention

Young patients that receive early orthodontic intervention can benefit in the following ways:

  • Shorter treatment
  • Treatment is easier
  • Costs less (something that parents love!)
  • Reduces the child’s risk of jaw joint disorders (TMJ)
  • Reduces the risk of broken or damaged teeth due to uneven biting pressure

It’s important to know that helping your child maintain a healthy, beautiful smile involves more than just receiving orthodontic treatment. Parents should encourage their children to practice good oral hygiene, especially if they wear an oral appliance that is prone to trapping food. Prepare and offer your child healthy food such as whole fruits and veggies, dairy, and lean meats (or other protein substitutes if you are vegetarian). Also, limit your child’s sugar intake. By practicing good oral hygiene and eating a healthy diet, your child can maintain cavity-free, straight teeth for life!

Give your child the gift of a healthy, confident smile!

If you’re interested in ortho consults for kids in the Bay Area, or want to see if your child is old enough for braces, contact Glen Park Dental by calling (415) 585-1500 or request a consultation today. We offer traditional braces, Invisalign clear aligners, oral appliances for early orthodontic intervention, and Orthotropics in the Bay Area.