Many parents assume that their children would only need to visit the orthodontist when they get to their teenage years. In fact, many people only think that they would require an orthodontic check-up when they are actually in pain or have severe dental malformation. However, the truth is that you definitely require a check-up with a orthodontist much sooner than that. Actually, the American Association of Orthodontists always recommends an orthodontist check-up for children before they even get to age 7.
Early Check-Up For Early Detection
One major benefit of early check-up with an orthodontist is the potential of early detection of dental issues. Even when baby teeth still persist in your child, a professional orthodontist would easily identify the most subtle signs of dental issues. In fact, the teeth may appear to be perfectly straight and normal to regular eyes, but only a qualified medial practitioner would identify any abnormalities.
Even if a dental issue may not be a major problem, it may require continuous monitoring through the early life of your child. This will ensure that any potential risks are prevented and the condition is not aggravated.
Just by visiting an orthodontist, you will get valuable advice and instructions on the best measures to protect the dental health of your child. This will enable you to maintain proper dental hygiene, and avoid future risks that may arise due to poor dental habits. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, some of the poor oral habits causing malocclusions (deviations from the ideal alignment of your teeth) include:
(i) Thumb sucking: This is a normal habit with babies. However, if thumb sucking continues long after permanent teeth have erupted, it has the potential of causing serious orthodontic problems. Basically, such a habit would lead to bite problems, crowded or crooked teeth. Furthermore, your child may also end up with speech problems or even problems with proper swallowing. A thumb sucking habit will reveal itself in protrusion and/ or displacement of the front teeth. Therefore, parents should firmly discourage their children from developing such a habit.
(ii) Pacifiers: Some parents may assume that a pacifier would provide a good alternative to thumb sucking. However, a orthodontist will advice you otherwise. Such pacifiers cause exactly the same problems as thumb sucking.
(iii) Lip-biting or Fingernail biting: Both lip and fingernail biting can cause misalignment of the teeth. Parents would be advised to discourage such habits in their children.
(iv) Tongue Thrusting: Such malocclusions as 'open bite' and overjet (teeth protrusions) may result due to children thrusting the tongue forwards and forcefully pressing it against the lips.
Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early treatment of malocclusions is very important, especially since a 2010 study by Emerich & Wojtaszek-Slominska (published in the European Journal of Pediatrics), reveals that only a small margin of 30% to 40% of the entire population has perfect teeth alignment. Hence, early treatment would help in preventing further misalignment of your jaws and teeth.
Early treatment in children is even better than treating adults, since the teeth in an adult are set, while the child's dental aspects are still under formation. Such treatment is necessary to fix crooked teeth, correct overcrowding of teeth, among other issues. This means that children may not require surgery in cases that would necessitate surgical operation for adults.
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