When is the right time to see an orthodontist? Earlier is better, of course, because as soon as an orthodontist can note a problem, they can figure out and implement the right treatment plan. But all children are different, and seeing a specialist for the first time is not only for children! Follow these recommendations if you’re a concerned parent or want to know if orthodontics is right for you as an adult.
When Should Children See An Orthodontist?
It’s a good idea to get an orthodontic evaluation around 7 years of age. Though all patients are different, treatment with dental braces generally begins when a child has lost most of their primary teeth (known better as baby teeth) and has grown in most of their permanent teeth. Because children’s teeth can grow differently, only an expert can tell if one has a developmental variation or a real orthodontic problem.
Some signs can point to a child requiring an orthodontic visit before all their baby teeth have fallen out: abnormal loss of these teeth (too early or too late), continued thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and the thrusting out of the tongue. If you’re a parent who notices any of these symptoms in your child, it may be time to book a visit. Early screening does not mean that treatment will start right away for the child; it can mean that you’ll know that the child will require treatment when they are older. Most orthodontic treatments begin between the ages of 8 and 14. However, early preventive care can take advantage of the child’s growth and guide the teeth to an intended result during their development.
If orthodontic issues are left untreated, a patient could require more serious surgery to correct their conditions. However, adults should not think that braces or treatments like Invisalign are only for younger people – there’s no age limit on seeing an orthodontist for the first time!
Your First Appointment
You should see an orthodontist any time you have a question about the quality of your bite or the alignment of your teeth or jaw. You may have difficulty biting down, speaking, or chewing, or some of your teeth may be protruding, crowded or misplaced. If that’s the case, then it’s time to consult with an orthodontist and get a professional opinion.
Some issues aren’t as noticeable and require the patient to pay close attention to their habits. Grinding or clenching, mouth breathing, and not being able to close lips can all be signs that someone needs to see an orthodontist. If your jaws make unnatural sounds or seem to shift in position when moved, an alignment using braces may be necessary.
With more unobtrusive options than ever, adults who suffer from problems or are self-conscious about their teeth shouldn’t put off getting orthodontic work for the first time. While an early diagnosis makes conditions far easier to treat, teens and adults who missed out on an examination when they were younger shouldn’t live with any misalignments or tooth problems.