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How Often Should Children Visit The Orthodontist?

8th Nov, 2023

Parents often wonder when the ideal time is to take their child to the orthodontist, and how long to wait between visits. Maybe it’s because their little one’s first tooth came out, or maybe they want to be ready for the cost of braces for their child down the road.

Every parent wants their child to have a beautiful smile and the confidence that comes with it as soon as possible. Here at Orthoclinic, we’re ready to help! Read on to learn everything you need to know about orthodontic visits for your child.

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What Age Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

We recommend your child visit an orthodontist by the age of 7.

This recommendation is supported by both the American Association of Orthodontists – who recommend all children be screen by an orthodontist at age 7.
It’s also supported by Orthodontics Australia, who recommend your child has their first orthodontic evaluation between 7-10 years.

We’ve put together a some information for parents around why this is the right age.

Whilst some believe it’s necessary to wait until their child reaches their teenage years or until they develop a problem, that’s not necessarily true. In fact, there are significant benefits to going earlier than that – and you don’t need a dentist’s recommendation to book an appointment.

By this age, most kids have lost a few baby teeth, but haven’t grown many adult teeth yet. Having a mix of adult and baby teeth allows the orthodontist to identify emerging issues with your child’s teeth and jaw alignment. Even if your child doesn’t need immediate treatment, regular check-ups with an orthodontist can monitor their development.

The great thing about early intervention is that it can minimise or even eliminate the need for extensive orthodontic treatment down the road. It’s an opportunity to ensure your child’s dental health and help them achieve a healthy (and beautiful) smile.

Signs your child should see an orthodontist

While all children can benefit from an early orthodontic evaluation, there are specific signs that indicate your child may be a candidate for orthodontic care:

  • Losing baby teeth prematurely: This may be a sign of cavities or trauma which can affect the eruption pattern of permanent teeth.
  • Protruding and overcrowded teeth: Teeth that stick out or appear crowded can impact your child’s oral health, aesthetics, and overall bite function.
  • Misalignment when biting: Your child’s teeth don’t meet when they bite together, such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite.
  • Difficulty chewing or biting: This may indicate a bite problem or misalignment.
  • Snoring or breathing through the mouth: This could be a sign of potential breath or airway issues that an orthodontist can assess and address.
  • Thumb sucking: Prolonged thumb sucking can lead to dental issues, such as misalignment or protruding front teeth.
  • Family history of impacted or missing teeth: Early orthodontic evaluation is important if your family has a history of dental issues.


Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

Early orthodontic treatment is not just about a pretty smile – it helps prevent problems like crowded teeth, cavities, and corrects harmful oral habits.

By taking proactive steps towards your kid’s oral health at an early age, you can set them up for a lifetime of benefits.

Catches dental problems early

It’s easier to identify and fix dental problems before they become worse. With early treatment, orthodontists can address potential issues before they become major concerns. It helps to determine the alignment of your child’s permanent teeth and whether intervention is needed.

Corrects bite or misalignment issues

Oral problems can often cause a chain reaction, leading to more complications. For example, crooked teeth can cause issues like overbites, underbites, and crossbites, which can lead to jaw problems and discomfort for your child.

Thankfully, early orthodontic treatment can identify and correct teeth and jaw issues. These adjustments are much easier when a child’s jaw is still developing.

Promotes proper growth

Early orthodontic treatment can not only identify developing problems but also creates a healthy space for new teeth to come in. Any obstacles blocking emerging teeth could damage their primary teeth or cause crowding.

Remember: your child’s adult teeth are meant to last a lifetime.

Improved oral health

Early treatment and regular visits to your orthodontist help your child establish good oral health habits. Tooth decay and gum disease can become chronic problems if they’re not nipped in the bud.

Did you know that tooth decay is the most common dental issue in childhood? This highlights the importance of early treatment and promoting good oral hygiene habits from a young age.

Boosted self-confidence

When orthodontic treatments begin at a young age, children can enjoy the benefits of a confident smile and healthy teeth throughout their schooling.

Self-consciousness is common in teenagers. By providing kids with healthy, straight teeth, you lay the foundation for self-confidence in adolescence and adulthood.


How Often Should Your Child Visit the Orthodontist?

So; you’ve taken the first step and your child has had their first orthodontic evaluation. Now, you might be wondering when you should schedule your next appointment.

How often your child should visit the orthodontist depends on their specific needs and treatment plan. Generally, most children undergoing tratment need to visit the orthodontist every four to eight weeks.

If they have braces, for example, they may need to see the orthodontist every four to ten weeks. If your child is undergoing other orthodontic treatments like headgear or expanders, they might need to see the orthodontist every four to eight weeks. During these visits, the orthodontist will check their progress and make any necessary adjustments.
Each patient’s treatment plan is unique. The orthodontist will provide guidance on how often you should schedule appointments. This will also depend on factors such as the complexity of the case, desired outcomes, and any challenges that might arise.

After completing active treatment – or if your child does not require treatment – the orthodontist will recommend periodic follow-up visits to every 6-12 months.


The Importance of Regular Dental and Orthodontic Visits

Regular dental check-ups and orthodontic visits are incredibly important for keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Just like you go for a check-up with your doctor, it’s essential to take care of your teeth too.

This becomes even more important at a young age. These visits can help catch any dental issues early on, meaning they can fix them before they become more serious. It saves you time and money and helps your child avoid unnecessary discomfort in the long run.

When you visit the dentist and orthodontist regularly, you can check that your child’s teeth are growing the right way. Orthodontists will keep an eye on the alignment of the teeth and be able to spot issues that require early intervention.

Regular dental checkups are also great for teaching children about proper oral hygiene practices. The dentist can show them the right way to brush and floss to ensure the best overall oral health.

By making regular dental and orthodontic visits a priority, you’re investing in your child’s oral health for the long run. It’s all about keeping their smile bright and healthy!


Ensuring Positive Dental Visits for Children

Taking your child to the dental clinic or orthodontist can be a daunting task for parents, especially if your young one is already scared or nervous. If you’re unsure how to help your child feel more comfortable about dental visits, you’re not alone.

Here are a few tips to help ensure your child has a positive experience at the dentist:

  1. Choose the right professional. Choose an orthodontist experienced in treating children. They have specialised knowledge and a child-friendly approach that can create a positive atmosphere for your child.
  2. Prepare your child. Before the visit, talk to your child about what they can expect during the appointment. Address their concerns and avoid words like “pain” to ensure a positive experience.
  3. Encourage good oral hygiene habits. Help your child maintain good oral hygiene habits at home between visits. You can even make it a fun activity that you do together.
  4. Reward your child for their bravery. Praising your child for their cooperation and bravery during dental appointments can boost their confidence and make future visits more enjoyable.



Should my child see an orthodontist if they don’t have braces?

Yes. While many people associate orthodontists with braces, their services go beyond that. Even if your child’s teeth appear healthy or they don’t currently require braces, it’s still wise to take them for orthodontic evaluations to monitor and prevent future issues.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

Both orthodontists and dentists play important roles in improving your overall oral health, but they approach this in different ways. Dentists have a wide scope of practice, addressing various oral health issues. Orthodontists are specialists in identifying, preventing, and correcting misaligned or crooked teeth and related jaw issues.

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