It is never too early to start seeing the dentist – no, really! At Howell Orthodontics, we encourage parents to start seeing their dentist as early as their baby’s first tooth. This does a few things – first, it establishes care with a dental provider you trust. Second, as your baby grows and develops, your dentist will be able to better track their dental development if they have imaging and exam notes from the very beginning. As your baby grows into a toddler and as your toddler turns into a child, they are more likely to be comfortable heading to the dentist and orthodontist if this has been a routine since they can remember.
By age 7, dentists will recommend that children have an initial appointment with an orthodontist. This appointment will help determine whether or not a child will need early orthodontic treatment (or Phase I Orthodontics). Consults with an orthodontist at a young age are very important because they can shorten the time your child needs orthodontic treatment and can help prevent certain issues from getting worse. Dr. Howell and his team can:
- Provide more room for crowded erupting teeth
- Preserve space for teeth that have not yet erupted
- Create facial symmetry by guiding jaw growth
- Reduce the possible need for tooth extraction
- Reduce the overall treatment time
The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Intervention
Aside from shortening orthodontic treatment time and preventing serious misalignment or spacing, there are many benefits that early orthodontic intervention provides.
- Enhanced Self-Esteem. A healthy, well-aligned smile can boost a child’s self-confidence and social interactions, leading to a positive self-image.
- Speech Improvement. Orthodontic treatment can correct speech impediments caused by issues like misaligned teeth or an improper bite.
- Easier Chewing and Eating. Properly aligned teeth make chewing more efficient, aiding in better digestion and overall nutrition.
- Reduced Risk of Trauma. Protruding or misaligned teeth are more susceptible to injury. Early orthodontic treatment can minimize the risk of trauma to the teeth and mouth.
- Guidance for Adult Teeth. Pediatric orthodontics can guide the eruption of permanent teeth into their correct positions, reducing the need for extensive orthodontic treatment in adolescence and adulthood.
- Prevent Bullying. Correcting orthodontic issues early can prevent potential teasing or bullying related to a child’s dental appearance.
- Positive Habits. Early orthodontic care can help children develop positive oral hygiene habits and oral health awareness, setting the foundation for a lifetime of good dental care.
- Long-Term Cost Savings. Addressing orthodontic issues during childhood can be more cost-effective than waiting for them to worsen, leading to more extensive and expensive treatment in later years.
- Less Time Off Work. With shorter treatment times and fewer emergency dental visits, parents may need to take less time off work to attend to their child’s orthodontic needs.
- Emotional Well-Being. Your child will have less dental work, less orthodontic treatment, and all the benefits listed above – all of which will contribute to their emotional and mental well-being.
Getting Started with a Pediatric Orthodontist
When you bring your child to our practice, our dentist will be able to determine whether treatment is needed and when it should begin. If early orthodontic treatment is needed, we will create a personalized treatment plan for optimal results. For more information and to set up your child’s orthodontic consultation at our office, we invite you to schedule your first appointment at one of our two convenient locations!