Getting your child in to see an experienced Gilbert orthodontist can be crucial for their oral health. Here’s how to tell if your child needs to see an orthodontist.
When Should my Child see an Orthodontist?
Getting your child to go to the orthodontist can be like pulling teeth (literally). Many children experience fear and anxiety when it comes to orthodontic appointments, but we do recommend a visit at the early age of seven to help rule out or identify developmental problems.
Taking your seven-year-old to an orthodontic specialist may seem early, but there are reasons for it. If there’s an issue, you’ll want it to be caught early on before too much damage is done to the teeth or jawline. There may be a problem that only a specialist can detect.
A good rule of thumb is to take your child to the orthodontist at age seven, but here are things to watch for that may indicate a potential problem and the need for a trip to the orthodontist.
1. Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Use Beyond Age Three
Prolonged thumb or pacifier sucking can be a nightmare for your child’s teeth. It might cause issues with the alignment of their teeth and may contribute to the teeth growing in crooked. We know that these can be very hard habits to break, but if your toddler is sucking their thumb or soother, it might be in your best interest to wean them off of it as soon as possible. Let us know if you need some tips.
2. Breathing Through the Mouth More Than the Nose
Mouth breathing dries out the mouth. Without a healthy amount of saliva, the body cannot rinse away food particles and bacteria well. It can lead to several dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, structural abnormalities, and swollen tonsils. If you notice your child breathes through their mouth a lot, then take them in for an orthodontic checkup to be on the safe side.
3. Loud Snoring Every Night
Loud snoring is not normal, and it is often a sign of something more serious like sleep apnea, which deprives the brain of oxygen while sleeping. When the brain does not receive enough oxygen, it sends signals to the mouth to clench the jaw or grind the teeth. Your orthodontist may notice you’re a snorer if he sees enamel damage, cracked teeth, gum recession, enlarged facial muscles or a misshaped tongue. If your child snores loudly on a nightly basis, there might be something deeper going on.
4. A Noticeable Overbite or Underbite
Overbites and underbites can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay, breakage, cavities and gingivitis. They can also cause jaw strain, headaches and earaches. These poor tooth alignments are often an issue that is fixed when getting aligners, but it’s helpful to make your orthodontist aware of it. There’s also the cosmetic aspect. Underbites and overbites may cause your child severe self-esteem struggles. Correcting it will be one of the best things you do for your child’s self-esteem.
5. Large Gaps Between Permanent Teeth
Aside from affecting appearance, large gaps in the teeth can lead to other issues and oral diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Food can get stuck in these gaps, feeding bacteria and helping them grow and decay the gums.
6. Crooked Permanent Teeth
Crooked teeth are unsightly, but they can be unhealthy too, as they may cause wear and tear on the teeth, gums and jaw muscles. The side effects of these conditions include cracked teeth, a painful jaw, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and possibly headaches. In more severe cases, speech difficulties could arise.
Overcrowding occurs when there’s not enough space for permanent teeth to grow in straight, leading to crooked teeth that overlap. Overcrowding can cause bite problems and can make it very difficult to brush and floss, which in turn leads to many serious problems such as gum disease and bad breath.
We know that nobody looks forward to going to the orthodontist, but we make it as simple and easy as possible for you and your family. Straight teeth are beautiful, but now that you know the effects go beyond appearance, there’s no excuse big enough to hold you back from teaching your child to care for their teeth. Getting your child in to see an experienced Gilbert orthodontist can be crucial for their oral health. If your child is well beyond seven years old and hasn’t been to the orthodontist, don’t worry, it’s never too late. Make an appointment for your child sooner rather than later. One visit now can prevent many visits later.