For new parents, there’s a lot to be excited about. From first steps to first words to first friends, milestones seem to come one after another. However, some of these milestones can also cause a little anxiety, especially when it comes to medical care.
Within the first year of a child’s life, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends six visits to the pediatrician. During this first year, parents should also bring their child to the dentist for their first check-up. As life goes on, parents naturally adjust their child’s medical schedule in relation to age. By age 7, many experts recommend that children visit the orthodontist for the first time.
Here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we meet a lot of parents with first-time orthodontic patients. During introductory examinations, many of these parents already have concerns and questions—particularly when the child’s baby teeth are crooked.
Crooked teeth affect people of all ages, so it’s understandable that parents become concerned when their child’s set of teeth isn’t straight. If you have questions about your child’s baby teeth, here’s what you need to know about early orthodontic treatments:
“Does It Matter If My Child’s Baby Teeth Are Crooked?” Probably Not
Generally speaking, crooked baby teeth are not a cause for concern.
Baby teeth first emerge at around 6 months old, when the child’s front teeth begin erupting from the gums. From months 6 to 25-33, the rest of the child’s baby teeth emerge to give them a total of 20 teeth. Officially called “primary teeth,” baby teeth play an essential role in the development of a child’s jawbone and oral muscles. Moreover, they help children perform essential oral functions, such as chewing food and speaking clearly.
At this stage in the child’s development, most cases of crooked teeth are inconsequential. Baby teeth frequently emerge crooked due to genetic factors and behaviors such as thumb-sucking. By and large, you should only be concerned about crooked baby teeth if your child has one or more of the following:
- Any missing teeth
- Extra teeth (a rare scenario)
- Overcrowding severe enough that it impedes oral function
Fortunately, the vast majority of crooked baby teeth cases are benign and don’t necessarily mean that your child will have crooked adult teeth. However, it is still a good idea to bring your child into the orthodontist’s office starting at age 7—a topic we explore in the next section.
When You Should Start Considering Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child
As we mentioned above, most experts agree that children should first visit an orthodontist at age 7. Why age 7? At that point, children are gaining their first few permanent teeth and their face and jaw bones are still growing. During an examination, these characteristics allow orthodontists to effectively evaluate important patient features, including:
- Jaw size
- Facial growth patterns
- Oral bite
- Permanent teeth positions
By examining these features, orthodontists can verify that the child’s teeth are coming in correctly and identify if any alignment issues are present or on the horizon.
In most cases, the first pediatric orthodontic visit is simply an evaluation. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we use the first appointment to ensure that your child is experiencing healthy bone growth and successful permanent tooth eruption. We also examine their bite, jawbone, and teeth positions to identify misalignment conditions and future issues.
Depending on patient specifics, we can use this information to either:
Formulate an orthodontic treatment plan that will begin when your child has developed further
Implement “interceptive treatments” to improve anatomical developments and positively influence growth patterns
These forms of early orthodontic treatment can correct alignment issues before they have a chance to become more complicated. That means your child may be able to avoid potentially severe alignment problems, spend less time undergoing orthodontic treatment, and more quickly obtain a perfectly aligned smile.
Want to Talk With An Expert about Your Child’s Teeth? Schedule a Consultation with Beverly Hills Orthodontics
As a parent, it’s only natural to want the absolute best for your child. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we understand that. We’re parents too after all! That’s why we start treating children starting at age 7.
Orthodontics isn’t just a way to realign your child’s teeth—it’s a way to boost their health and improve their overall self-confidence. From clearer speech to better oral function, early orthodontic care sets children up for a lifetime of well-being. Contact Beverly Hills Orthodontics today to learn how we can improve your child’s health.