As you may be aware, a child’s first trip to the dentist should take place no later than age two. Similarly, your child’s first visit to the orthodontist should occur by age seven. This may surprise you because orthodontic treatment is usually associated with adolescence. Although treatment will not necessarily begin at this early age, an examination is important to ensure maximum dental health for your child. This gives you, the parent, peace of mind.
The following early signs may indicate that your child should have an orthodontic examination:
- Early or late loss of teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Finger sucking
- Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Speech difficulty
- Biting the cheek or into the roof of the mouth
- Facial imbalance
- Jaws that protrude or retrude
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
Early orthodontic treatment (also referred to as Phase I) can help minimize the need for more lengthy and expensive treatment at a later date, such as extraction of permanent teeth and/or jaw surgery. Early treatment may also help a child’s self-esteem, a fragile asset that is so important in growing up.
Please understand that recognizing an orthodontic problem at an early age does not always result in early treatment. After evaluating your child, Dr. Snodell may just want to check your child periodically while the permanent teeth are erupting and the jaws and face continue to grow.
In the interest of prevention, we are happy to offer all initial examinations and follow-up recall visits at no charge.