What is the Best Timing for Kids’ Dental and Orthodontic Treatment?

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orthodontist in Prince Albert

When it comes to kids and caring for their teeth, there are three questions related to timing that we receive over and over again. First, when should your child see a dentist near you for the very first time? Second, when should your child see an orthodontist in Prince Albert for the very first time? Third, if it looks like your child might benefit from orthodontic treatment, when should that treatment get started? The purpose of this article is simple — to answer those questions. The answers to the first two questions will be pretty short and straightforward. The third question is a little more complex, so the answer will be a little more involved.

Of course, the best we can do in any short article like this one is to alert you to some common best practices and issues that you should consider while thinking through decisions about your child’s oral health. When it comes time to make decisions or choices, don’t rely on online articles in a vacuum. Instead, use them as a guide to conversations you should have with the staff at a dental clinic in Prince Albert who knows your child and how to meet his needs.

Question One: When should my child see a dentist in Prince Albert for the first time?

You should take your child to see a dentist for the first time as soon as his first baby tooth erupts through his gums or as soon as possible after his first birthday, whichever comes first.

Question Two: When should my child see an orthodontist for the first time?

If your pediatric or family dentist notices anything about your child’s gums, jaw, teeth or development that suggests he might benefit from an assessment by an orthodontist in Prince Albert, you should arrange that appointment as soon as possible — no matter how old your child is. Your dentist knows that early intervention to address potential concerns can be a lot more effective and comfortable and less expensive than waiting too long to respond. Besides, taking your son for an assessment by an orthodontist near you does not mean they need orthodontic work right away. It just means you’ll have a second set of expert eyes on the situation to make sure things develop as they should.

Question Three: If my child would benefit from orthodontic treatment, when should it get started?

If you have taken your child to an orthodontist at any age, we understand that you’re hoping you’ll hear something to the effect of “All good. Nothing to see here. Thanks for popping by, but I don’t need to see you again.” If, on the other hand, the orthodontist does identify potential issues (in the present or the future), how long should you wait before getting started with orthodontic treatment?

Some orthodontists and dentists prefer to hold off on orthodontic treatment until a child’s permanent teeth have all come in (or at least erupted). There are, though, benefits to starting orthodontic treatment early. Early orthodontic treatment refers to orthodontic treatment while children are still adolescents and before the eruption of permanent teeth. What are the benefits of early orthodontic treatment that you should review with your dentist and orthodontist to determine how they apply to your child?

  • By getting involved earlier, orthodontists can help you and your son break habits — such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting — that may be distorting the development of their teeth

  • By beginning treatment earlier, behavioural changes can be made before the physical consequences of those habits become more fixed as your son’s skeletal structure matures

  • Orthodontic treatment is often completed more easily and quickly when begun at a younger age

  • If your child has lost baby teeth prematurely — due to injury, accident or tooth decay, for example — early orthodontic treatment can prevent the drifting of other teeth. Those baby teeth are more important than many people realize. They define the channels for future permanent teeth. Premature loss of baby teeth is a primary reason to involve an orthodontist early to avoid a more complicated emergence of permanent teeth in the right positions

Is early orthodontic treatment right for your child? That is precisely the question you should ask your child’s dentist. If you don’t have a pediatric or family dentist and have any concerns about the development of your child’s teeth, contact a dental clinic in Prince Albert for advice and support.