When is the best time to consider having my child looked at for straightening their teeth?
The short answer is that chldren should be seen for an orthodontic evaluation before the age of 7 years old. This doesn’t mean a whole lot of 7 year olds should be running around NZ wth braces on. The likelihood is that nothing will need to be done but if Dr Tiang does spot something at an early age it may be that he can prescribe a simple and cheap treatment to help you try and avoid full-on orthodontic treatment in the future.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists (the largest orthodontic organisation in the world), early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, Dr Tiang may be able to achieve results not possible once the face and jaws have finished growing. Through an early orthodontic evaluation, you’ll be giving your child the best chance of having a beautiful, healthy smile.
In particular, problems which require immediate attention and can often benefit from being treated early may include:-
- crossbite (reverse overlap) of the front teeth
- crossbite (reverse overlap) of the back teeth
- openbite (the front teeth cannot touch)
- deep bite
- oral habits such as thumb/finger sucking
- early or late loss of baby teeth
- difficulty in chewing or biting
- mouth breathing
- jaws that shift or make sounds
- speech difficulties
- biting the cheeks or the roof of the mouth
- facial imbalance
- grinding or clenching of the teeth
There is also research showing the links in children between orthodontic problems, grinding teeth and bed-wetting even. If your child snores loudly, breathes mainly through their mouth, grinds their teeth in their sleep or has a persistent bed wetting issue then you should consider bringing them in for a consultation. The potential links between these things and orthodontic problems could mean Dr Tiang is able to help much more than simply providing straighter teeth.
If early treatment is required for a younger patent then it is unlikely to be full braces. Until the jaws finish growing (at around age 13) any orthodontic treatment required is going to be as simple as possible to fix the immediate problem and not really to try and straighten the teeth to perfection.
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