Until I had a child that needed orthodontic attention, I was under the belief that as parents we don’t have to worry about that until much later in life - like early high school years. That's why I was surprised to hear from our dentist that Lydia, then 5, needed to see a kid orthodontist. I have since learned that children should be seen by an orthodontist ideally between the ages of 7 and 9. While the kids still have baby teeth and their jaws are still forming.
Why would I see an orthodontist while my kid still has baby teeth?
The primary goal of seeing children while they still have baby teeth is to intercept a problem early on that will otherwise become much more difficult once they have their permanent teeth.
Because of Lydia’s thumb sucking, her teeth and jawbones were not developing properly. We also learned that it was impacting her speech, which then, in turn, impacted her spelling because she couldn’t hear the sounds correctly. We had no idea the impact that her thumb-sucking could have on her overall development and education goals.
I’m so grateful to our dentist for spotting this early and making the recommendations. We couldn’t visibly see the issue so we would have had no idea that there was even a need. The orthodontists are trained to detect early signs of issues that we as parents may never see.
It was the perfect time for Lydia to start wearing a removable palatal expander because her jaw was still forming. If we had waited a few years, this type of expansion would have been much more difficult and taken a lot longer to achieve the results we have today.
What are the benefits of kid orthodontics?
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:
- Guide jaw growth
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits improve the appearance
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Create a more pleasing arrangement of teeth, lips, and face
How do I find a kid orthodontist?
Our dentist recommended a wonderful orthodontic practice. They were so great with a 5-year-old. The exam didn’t take long and they made it fun for Lydia to take the Xrays and see inside her mouth. If your child ends up needing treatment, you’ll be seeing a lot of them so make sure you select not only a qualified orthodontist for kids but one that makes you and your child feel welcomed. The warm cookies on the way out of our visits were enjoyed by both Lydia and me!
In addition to your dentist, most likely you have family and friends that have been through this before. Ask around because nothing is better than a personal recommendation. If you’re still at a loss, visit the orthodontic locator below:
Many of the orthodontic offices offer free consultation. Don’t feel like you have to go with the first visit, but rather shop around and understand the differences in treatment, pricing, and overall experience. As I said, it’s a relationship and an important one at that so take your time to make the right choice for you and your family.
Why can’t I just wait it out?
Of course, that is your decision, but when it comes to kid orthodontics, the earlier the better. In many cases, there is no need for immediate treatment. You will, however, get a sense of whether your child will need braces in the future. I for one would like to know that so I can ensure we have the financial resources to make it happen!
I was naïve in my understanding of the benefits of an early orthodontic consultation which is why I’m sharing my experience with you! The treatment wasn’t easy or cheap, but now that Lydia is 8, I can see what a positive impact that palate expander had on her development.
And I will always be thankful for our expensive and painful experience because it led us to create RooTainer!
With love from our home to yours,