The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child have their first orthodontic evaluation at the age of seven–and we wholeheartedly agree!

We understand that taking your seven-year-old to the orthodontist may seem premature. But the reality is that there are several benefits of early orthodontics and having your child’s first evaluation early on!

Keep in mind that just because your child is evaluated at a young age does not mean that treatment will begin at the same time. Often, these appointments are merely observational, giving our early orthodontics specialists time with your child to note any possible developments that could transform into major issues later on.

Allow our professional staff to examine your child to see what—if any—of these conditions exist in your child. Early detection is key to ensuring that your child’s oral health does not regress from bad to worse.

However, while it’s always best to have a specialist evaluate your child, here are some at-home checks that you can leverage to do a preliminary, surface-level evaluation of your child right from the comfort of your own home. Use the list below as a simple guide:

Problems We Look For

  1. Buck Teeth. Do the upper front teeth stick too far out?
  2. Deep Bite. Do the upper teeth cover the lower teeth?
  3. Underbite. Do the upper teeth fit inside the arch of the lower teeth?
  4. Open Bite. Do only the back teeth touch when biting down?
  5. Crowded or overlapped teeth. Do the teeth have too much space? Too little space?
  6. Misaligned front teeth. Do the spaces between the upper two front teeth and lower two front teeth not line up?
  7. Crossbite. Do the upper teeth fit inside the lower teeth?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it is a good starting point for parents who may have an inkling that their child requires orthodontic appliances. All of these issues can be fixed with the precise, tailor-made braces for kids and other appliances that our specialists develop for each of our unique patients.

Immediate Attention

If a child has any of the following problems, treatment may be necessary before the age of seven.

  • Speech problems like lisps and stuttering
  • Difficulty chewing, which could be caused by an open bite or misalignment
  • Abnormal bite development
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw
  • Permanent teeth that are coming in crowded or overlapped
  • A thumb sucking problem
  • A teeth grinding problem
  • Frequently biting of their cheeks or biting into the roof of their mouth

You do not need to call an ambulance for these symptoms! However, we do encourage you to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Misalignment (the technical term for this is “malocclusion”) that is left unchecked and unaddressed can lead to even worse issues with breathing, speaking, chewing, swallowing, and other major bodily functions.

No matter the age of your child, we encourage you to visit us as soon as any of the above symptoms become apparent.

Benefits to Early Treatment

While it may be alarming to discover that your child’s oral health is beginning to negatively affect their body as a whole, do not despair. The best benefit of early detection of issues is that your child is still growing, which gives our specialists, you, and your child ample time to make adjustments.

Your child will do much more growing after the age of seven. At that age of seven, virtually every system in their body—from their skin to their skeleton—is growing. Children undergo an astounding period of transformation as they progress from childhood to adulthood.

Putting in safeguards during childhood such as braces for kids helps to ensure that the child remains healthy as they transition into adolescence and adulthood. As people grow older, their body grows more slowly, eventually halting growth in the mid-twenties.

This growth means that simple adjustments today can lead to major improvements down the road. What could have ballooned to a major dental issue could be solved with only a few, simple adjustments which would save you and your child much stress (and money!) in the coming years.

Another factor that is vital to remember is that major oral irregularities can cause major emotional and mental stress for your child. Qualities like a lisp, stutter, noticeable overbite or underbite, and other symptoms of malocclusion can lead to low self-esteem, unhappiness, and depression. A significant amount of mental and emotional stress can be done away with via early detection of oral irregularities.

Keep Your Cool

It is vitally important that whatever the state of your child’s oral health that you always remember that oftentimes there is not much the parents or the child could have done to prevent dental irregularities, but there is much that can be done to combat them!

There are a host of reasons why your child may develop malocclusion. Cleft palate, injuries, tumors, trauma, mouth breathing, and prolonged use of pacifiers and bottles can all contribute to misalignment. Everyone’s bite is different, children lose teeth at different rates, and accidents happen.

Parents should find comfort in that orthodontics is an old profession, and our specialists have a wealth of knowledge and experience from which to draw. Trust us that your child’s oral health is our top priority. Our office will do all it can to maintain the health and safety of you and your child!

Share This Important Information

If you or a loved one in or around Upper Freehold have recently welcomed a new baby into this world, we encourage you to share this article. Because so many causes of misalignment stem from infancy (obsessive thumb sucking, prolonged bottle use, etc), there is a tremendous benefit of simply knowing the causes of misalignment.

Additionally, if you or a loved one has a child who is at or around the age of seven, please send them our way! We would love to sit you down with one of our specialists so we can evaluate them in a professional setting–or one of our virtual orthodontists can take a look from a video call!

Thank you and please share with the people of Upper Freehold!