The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. “It makes us part of your child’s healthy development, just like your pediatrician,” Dr. AJ said. “There are many moving parts to healthy children’s oral development: tooth eruption and maintenance of baby teeth, jaw and facial growth, development and symmetry, timing and position of adult tooth eruption, habits, crowding, spacing. If one or more of these developmental areas goes awry, it can make for much more complicated treatment in the teen years.”
Our orthodontists love meeting children before they are ready for any treatment, actually. “The goal is to educate children and their parents about what we are looking for, when we are looking for it, and helping them understand how we will make things right when something is wrong,” continues Dr. AJ.
Parents and older siblings can set examples
Of the 5 million people in the U.S. currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, 1.5 million of them are over 18 years old. When parents and older siblings attach no stigma to checkups at the dentist and orthodontist, younger kids have an easier time.
Teeth, jaw, throat and airway checkup
Getting orthodontic evaluation and treatment on time can improve so much in the life of an adult or a child. When developing problems are screened and managed on time, the table is set for future growth and development to occur normally.
Aside from perfecting the appearance of smiles, your orthodontist can prevent and treat various health issues that are dependent upon growth. Once the teen years are well under way, growth and development is largely complete and modifications to growth become impossible. This can be a difficult thing to hear for older patients and adults when they come in with concerns that can’t be easily fixed any more.
At your orthodontic checkup, we assess so much more than tooth and jaw alignment. We also investigate jaw function, airway and if you have any problems with your sleep patterns.
In this way, your orthodontist can help with:
- Teeth and jaw misalignment
- Sleep apnea
- Other breathing irregularities (like mouth breathing and snoring)
Schedule an appointment if you’ve never previously seen an orthodontist.
In kids, we should begin screening by age 7, when teeth and jaw development are in the early stages of development. “Bones are soft, roots are short, we can influence tooth position and jaw development like the wind pushes a kite at this point… it’s very easy for kids,” says Dr. Ari. Orthodontists strive to resolve any potential problems now to allow for proper growth and development so that whatever orthodontic treatment is required in the teen years will be easier and more predictable as the puberty growth spurt is the engine we use to finish the alignment and jaw position. If a substantial portion of the growth spurt is “wasted” ironing out problems that should have been managed earlier, we get more predictable results and more adequately capture your child’s growth potential.
The most interesting thing about growth and development is how individual everything is. Siblings and friends and family may appear to have similar problems but the nuance of individual circumstance in growth and development is what makes the support and guidance of an orthodontist so important. “Our goal is to treat everyone as the individual they are and to communicate clearly about treatment needs and goals. I always say ‘orthodontics is a team sport.’ When we have the opportunity to diagnose at the right time and educate about the best way to proceed, our children come out on top,” says Dr. AJ.
Our orthodontists would love to meet you at one of our complimentary orthodontic examinations. Summer is here, give us a call to reserve your appointment today at 586-286-0700.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.