There’s no doubt that we all want the best for our children. Most parents naturally have a lot of questions about orthodontic treatment as it’s probably one of the most significant healthcare decisions they’ll have to make for their child. So, at what age should your child first see an orthodontist?

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends that children between the ages of 8 and 10 should visit an orthodontist for an initial evaluation. By the age of 8, most children will have a mixture of baby and permanent teeth that have erupted and this is the ideal time to assess whether or not they’ll experience orthodontic problems in the future. At this initial assessment, your orthodontist will assess whether your child will develop malocclusion, teeth crowding, and any issues with their bite (such as overbite and crossbite).

For the majority of children, waiting until they reach teenage years to correct any orthodontic conditions is the best course of action. However, some kids will greatly benefit from early orthodontic treatment to prevent issues such as physical trauma (e.g. sports injuries) to protruding front teeth and fixing severely crowded teeth so your child can maintain good oral hygiene. Also known as Phase One, early orthodontic treatment is designed to reduce the length, cost, and complexity of orthodontic treatment such as Insignia braces along with yielding the best possible results from these treatments.

How do I know if my child needs early orthodontic treatment?

While it’s recommended to schedule an initial evaluation for your child between the ages of 8 and 10, there are a number of ways to ascertain whether or not your child may need early orthodontic treatment. The following behaviours and characteristics are signs that your child may have orthodontic issues which may require treatments such as Invisalign or Insignia braces in teenage years.

  • Biting or chewing difficulties
  • Losing baby teeth before the age of 5
  • Breathing through their mouth and/or snoring
  • Protruding front teeth
  • Teeth not meeting properly when biting
  • Teeth crowding (which doesn’t typically appear until 7 or 8 years old)
  • Shifting jaw when opening or closing their mouth
  • A speech impediment
  • Thumb or finger sucking (over five years old)

What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

There are many benefits that your child can gain through orthodontic treatment, including

  • Improving self-confidence

For children who have space between teeth, crowding of teeth, or severe bite problems, even minor orthodontic treatment can improve their self-confidence. Recent studies have indicated that teachers have lower expectations for children who have orthodontic issues. Improving self-confidence affects many aspects of a child’s life and leads to a happier and healthier adulthood.

Better oral health

Maintaining good oral health and establishing healthy habits during younger years is vital. Certain orthodontic issues like crowding and bite problems can make it significantly more difficult for your child to maintain good oral health, and these habits tend to stick with children into their adult years.

Reduce the length and cost of orthodontic treatment

In most cases, early orthodontic treatment will reduce the cost and complexity of orthodontic treatment in their teenage years. Considering that orthodontic treatment can be quite expensive, it’s far easier to undertake early orthodontic treatment to reduce the length, complexity, and cost of such treatment for both you and your child.  

  • Reduce the risk of trauma

Orthodontic issues such as misaligned teeth and protruding front teeth can increase the chance that your child will sustain facial trauma from playing sports or other activities. Early orthodontic treatment can reduce the risk of damage to these teeth both emotionally and financially.

While many children don’t need to have any orthodontic intervention at a young age, those that do will have a positive impact on their lives. Early orthodontic treatment will help pave the path to healthy dental, facial, and psychosocial growth and development.

If you’re interested in scheduling an initial orthodontic assessment for your child, get in touch with the professionals at Clear Smiles Orthodontics by phoning their friendly staff on 07 5593 3733.