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At what age should my child consult with an orthodontist?

As your child grows, their dental development goes through several important stages. As a parent, it is quite normal to wonder about the best time to bring in your child for a first orthodontic consultation in order to get the maximum benefits.

Should we wait until the child has all of their adult teeth, or should we instead consult as soon as possible to take advantage of this crucial development period? It is quite normal to ask yourself these types of questions and want to proceed in the best way in order to get optimal results.

Evaluating the best moment to bring your child in for an orthodontic consultation 

The first eruptions of permanent molars and incisors occur around the age of 7 years. At this time, your child will have a mixture of baby teeth as well as permanent adult teeth. This is why all the professionals of the Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) recommend an initial assessment around this age. By doing so, the orthodontist will be able to observe the development of these new teeth more closely alongside their relationship with your child’s entire jaw.

A child's first appointment at an orthodontic clinic will be used to collect all the information necessary to provide the most accurate diagnosis possible. Photos and x-rays will be taken to get an overall picture of the jaw and the bone structure.

This first evaluation with an orthodontist does not mean that treatment will necessarily be started at this time, but could be used in order to plan a course of action that will take place over several years, throughout the child's development. In some cases, the orthodontist will only confirm that no treatment seems necessary and may suggest another assessment later when your child is older.

Advantages of orthodontic treatments starting at a young age

The first assessment will be used to determine an intervention plan. Depending on your child's specific case, your orthodontist may recommend that you start orthodontic treatment at a young age. Intervening early in the dental development process generally makes it easier to correct problems affecting a child's dental and oral health. During this growth period, the teeth are more flexible and easily manipulated by the solutions that will be determined and offered by your orthodontist.

Beginning treatment early in a child's life can avoid more laborious and expensive treatments once they reach adolescence or adulthood, when teeth are more difficult to move. Intervening too late can also be more painful, or even require surgery that would not have been necessary with earlier treatment.

Beyond dental issues, early intervention can also prevent possible language problems, which can often be associated with malocclusion. In fact, motor difficulties that can interfere with language development can occur in some cases when a child's dentition is problematic.

In adolescence, an aesthetic and healthy smile helps to provide a healthy dose of self-confidence in children. Braces and other dental appliances can sometimes be embarrassing for a teenager, and orthodontic intervention at a young age can prevent the need for this type of treatment later in the child's life.

Dr. Frédéric Lavoie's orthodontic clinic offers dental assessments for children of all ages. If needed, our team will put together an effective intervention plan to properly support the healthy development of your child's teeth. You will obtain clear and detailed explanations on the elements resulting from this evaluation with an orthodontist and you will be able to make informed decisions on the corrective measures to be carried out.

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