In our last post, we examined the most common medical reasons why kids receive orthodontics and the resulting benefits of such treatment. Today, I’d like to take our discussion a step further and answer the 3 most common questions we hear from our patients’ parents.
At what age should I have my child evaluated for early intervention?
The simplest answer is around 6 years old. For some children, your dentist can have a pretty good idea by even earlier if the evidence is overwhelming. However, when your child starts to get his first permanent molars (6-year molar, big tooth in the back), it’s time for an evaluation. Sometimes this evaluation is just a visual exam. But other times your dentist might need to take some x-rays and impressions of your child’s teeth.
Aren’t braces painful?
We like to say they can be “uncomfortable.” Many parents are concerned about their child’s pain threshold or dental anxiety. I understand; I’m a parent, too! I can tell you from countless experiences that children are adaptable and amazing. They are way tougher than we adults are. Because bone is so much more “forgiving” in our younger years, the teeth move faster with less force.
A quick note about dental anxiety: One of our favorite things about children’s orthodontics is the relationship we as an office get to develop with these kids. We have seen some of the shyest, most anxious (including tears) children transform over the course of treatment. The trusting basis of a relationship that is established young sets a tone that reduces dental anxiety well into their adult years.
If my child gets braces as young as 7, does this mean she won’t have to get braces again when she gets all her permanent teeth?
Not necessarily. Our goal in any early orthodontic case is to get a jumpstart on development or space issues. We want to get in and get out – usually in less than a year. In some cases, the need for future orthodontics is not necessary; however, when phase two orthodontics is needed in their teenage years, it is so much easier and faster.
Remember, going to the dentist isn’t just for cleanings, fillings and the occasional root canal anymore. We’re here to provide comprehensive dental solutions for your whole family, including orthodontics, TMJ/TMD treatment, teeth whitening and so much more. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!