When Should You Schedule Your Child’s First Orthodontist Appointment?

By Dr. Henry Zaytoun, Jr., Zaytoun Orthodontics

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The American Association of Orthodontists
suggests that all children be seen by an orthodontist by age seven. By scheduling the first orthodontist check-up when children are young, early problems can be identified and addressed as needed. However, not all problems should be treated early. The only issues that warrant early intervention are those that would lead to more extensive problems and more aggressive treatment if they were left untreated until a later age when most permanent teeth have erupted.

Technology in orthodontics is progressing at an amazingly fast rate, making that first orthodontics evaluation an easy experience even for very young children. In many cases, those yucky impressions (the ones that the parents of young children probably recall with a grimace) have been replaced with a digital scan. The scanner takes a series of pictures of the teeth, from which all sorts of orthodontic appliances can be made—including retainers and aligners.

Most people know that retainers are used after orthodontic treatment ends to keep teeth aligned for years to come. As for aligners, most people have heard of the Invisalign brand, which uses plastic trays instead of braces to move teeth and, in turn, improve your bite.

Aligner treatment is almost invisible and, when designed properly by an orthodontist, it can be a very effective way to straighten teeth without braces. Aligners are often used by adults who were treated with braces as a child but have experienced shifting of their teeth as they grew older. And teenagers are also prime candidates for aligners—not only because the aligners are hardly noticeable, but also because of the ease of flossing and brushing with aligners. Plus, they can still eat all the hard, sticky foods that have to be avoided with braces.

Regardless of whether braces or aligners are needed, visiting an orthodontist early will set your child on a course to a beautiful healthy smile for years into the future.

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