Kids

The Orthodontist: When should you take your child?

Early orthodontics (also known as interceptive or phase one orthodontics) can help prevent more serious issues later in life.
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Is it too early to visit the orthodontist? How preventive early ortho can avoid dental problems and save money

It sometimes seems like our kids are doing everything younger than we did—from paying attention to fashion to wanting their own mobile phones. And it can be frustrating when we see other parents allowing it to happen earlier for their kids than we’d like for ours. So when you hear that little Johnny is seeing an orthodontist at age seven, you might be forgiven for thinking his parents are jumping the gun a bit. But actually, Johnny’s mum and dad are likely doing the smart thing—having him assessed early in order to avoid bigger problems later. Should you do the same for your children? Here are some answers to the big questions:

Why?

Early orthodontics (also known as interceptive or phase one orthodontics) can help prevent more serious issues later in life. They not only minimise the length of treatment that might be required later, but can prevent the development of serious issues such as:

  • Underbites
  • Open bites
  • Disproportionate jaws
  • Damaging thumb sucking or tongue habits
  • Protruding teeth
  • Severe teeth crowding

These issues, if allowed to develop, may later require a lot of treatment to be corrected, may not be able to be corrected at all, or may require surgery. In short, some issues shouldn’t wait until your child is older for treatment.

When?

At Happy Kids Dental, we recommend you bring your child in for an assessment around the age of six years old. Early orthodontic treatments usually take place between the age of six and 12 years old, lasting around one year, depending on their specific issue. Obviously, if children have undergone early orthodontics, they will most likely avoid braces and extractions during the teen years—which, let’s face it, are hard enough already! And, in cases where further treatment is required, it is usually much quicker and easier.

How?

So just what does early orthodontic treatment look like? It’s far less intrusive than traditional orthodontics teens may face at phase two, and may require the use of spacers, retainers and partial braces for periods of time. Of course, it all depends on your individual child’s needs—they may require nothing more than monitoring. The best thing to do is have them assessed, so you’ll have peace of mind.

Where?

Most general dental practitioners (GDPs) don’t have the expertise to properly assess children for early orthodontics and therefore don’t offer this service. You should look for a dentist with a special interest in orthodontics or, preferably, a consultant paediatric orthodontist such as at Happy Kids Dental.

If you’re interested in finding out more or booking an orthodontic consultation, call Happy Kids Dental on 020 7078 0822 or visit www.happykidsdental.co.uk.

RELATED CONTENT: BABY’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT: WHEN SHOULD IT BE? >

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