Signs Your Child May Need Early Orthodontic Treatment | Ontario Kid's Dentist

Children should start seeing the dentist early in life. The general recommendation is to make an appointment for your children within approximately six months of their first tooth or by their first birthday, whichever one comes first. During this visit, your child gets an examination that helps to determine the overall health of their teeth. In most cases, very little treatment is performed during this initial visit.

What to Expect During Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

When you take your child to their first dental appointment, they will ask questions about your child’s dental and overall health. This includes discussing developmental issues that you might have and answering any of your questions regarding your child’s dental care. Other components of this appointment generally include:

  • Examine the teeth that your child has to look for any signs of decay
  • Look at your child’s bite to determine if there are any issues
  • Evaluate the jaw, gums and oral tissues to look for possible problems
  • If it is needed, the dental hygienist will assess to see if fluoride is needed and clean your child’s teeth

When Your Child’s Dentist May Recommend Early Orthodontic Treatment

There are some signs to look out for that could determine that your child needs orthodontic intervention early in their life. One of the most common is crowded teeth. If your child’s jaw is too narrow and small, their teeth may not have enough room, so they start to appear crowded. With early intervention, childrens braces might not be needed. Instead, the dentist could recommend a palatal expander to help ensure that there is enough room without having to remove any of your child’s teeth.

Protruding teeth is another issue to look for. It can occur as a result of growth or due to thumb sucking, especially after age four. When teeth are protruding, there is a risk for cracked or broken teeth. Once kids are older, this could result in the need for more invasive dental work, so solving the problem early in life can save them time and discomfort.

There are other things to look for that could warrant the need for orthodontics, including:

  • Your child has their mouth open a lot because this can cause crooked teeth and improper jaw development
  • Your child breaths through their mouth a lot since this can result in a gap at the front of the mouth between the bottom and top teeth, known as an anterior open bite
  • When swallowing, your child moves their lips as this can cause misaligned teeth
  • Teeth grinding and snoring may indicate issues like narrow arches, bad bites and crowded teeth
  • If your child’s lower jaw grows faster than their upper jaw, this could result in an underbite which could cause the need for extensive treatment in the future
  • If your child has issues with speaking or chewing, it could mean that their bite is misaligned

If your child’s primary teeth fall out either too soon or too late, this could result in problem’s with tooth positioning once their permanent teeth erupt and start to grow. Your dentist can provide you some guidance on what to expect once your child starts to grow their primary teeth so that you can keep track of how long they remain.

Benefits of Getting Orthodontic Work Early in Life

Getting early orthodontic treatment helps to ensure adequate space for the child’s incoming adult teeth. It can be beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Help with tongue thrusting, thumb sucking and other habits that could be the reason for developmental issues
  • Accommodating emerging teeth by guiding jaw growth
  • Reducing the need for future dental corrections that could be more invasive
  • Correcting a variety of bite issues, such as cross bite, open bite and deep bite
  • Decreasing the chances of protruding teeth damage
  • Enhancing a child’s self-esteem by helping to improve the look of their smile

Early Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child

If your child requires orthodontics between ages two and six, the primary goal is to use dental appliances to correct problems and aid you and your child in eliminating bad habits, such as frequent thumb sucking or pacifier use.

With early intervention, your child’s dentist works to ensure that both dental arches are the appropriate width. With proper width, once your child starts to grow their permanent teeth, there will be enough room for them to come in properly.

Seeing your Ontario children's dentist on a regular schedule helps to keep your child’s oral health in good condition. Whether they need early orthodontic treatment or just general examinations and cleanings, this will go a long way in helping your child to achieve a confident smile. Just be sure to choose the best kids dentist so that you are both comfortable during the appointments.