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Why Should My Child See An Orthodontist? He’s Only 7 Years Old!

Learn about the reasons your child should have their first orthodontic visit by age 7. What problems to look out for and when they should be identified.

Perhaps this has happened to you?  Your little cherub had the most gorgeous little teeth since the age of 2. Perfectly aligned, cute little white chicklets, all in a row, without any spacing. Then at around age 7 some baby teeth fell out and so much larger permanent teeth started to grow in, overlapping the other teeth, leaning at funny angles. What happened?

The following article briefly touches upon some important orthodontic issues that should be identified at age 7, when the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child get his first orthodontic examination.

Crowding

At age 7, most children start to lose the first of their primary teeth, typically the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors.  Permanent teeth are significantly larger than their primary (baby teeth) counterparts. How can larger teeth possibly fit into the jaw of a small child?

The answer is : They sometimes cannot and this will require orthodontic treatment.

Crossbites

When there is an imbalance in the growth of the upper and lower jaws, a crossbite may result. See Crossbite photo A. of upper teeth incorrectly fitting behind the lower teeth. This also can cause gum recession on the lower front tooth.This is a problem that is best treated as soon as it is identified.

Risk of Trauma 

Protruding upper front teeth place children at risk for trauma, particularly during sports activities. Without correction or protective measures, those teeth could be broken, or knocked out. 

Oral Habits

Thumb or finger sucking can cause serious problems with the teeth:  Protrusion of upper front teeth, crowding of lower teeth, crossbites of back teeth.The habit should be stopped as soon as possible to eliminate further damage as well as to allow some natural improvements to take place. The approaches an orthodontist will recommend vary from behavioral to those of appliances to stop the habit.

Mouthbreathing and Tongue thrust swallowing  are other damaging habits. We are supposed to breathe through our noses.  The ability to close our lips without strain, and swallow with our tongues up against our palate has a very underrated significance in how children’s faces and dental alignment develops.  If your child cannot breathe through their nose, you should seek the advice of your pediatrician and /or ENT specialist, as well as an orthodontist to address the damaging effects.

Impacted Teeth

When new permanent teeth are growing into the mouth, sometimes they get stuck, or impacted under a baby tooth.  This requires immediate attention so the new tooth can properly come into the mouth, while maintaining room for the tooth above the affected baby tooth.

Ectopic Eruption

This refers to teeth that grow into unusual places!

This article is just a brief summary of some important reasons for a 7 year old to have his/her first orthodontic consultation.  It is an important age for the identification and in some cases timely treatment of these issues.  Please note that this article isn’t meant to provide medical advice, and I encourage parents to schedule an appointment for their children, rather than making determinations on their own.

For more information on Orthodontics for your Children, please respond to the blog, or visit us on our website: www.braceace.com.

Also, you can refer to the A.A.O. brochure on this topic: click here.

I welcome your questions and comments!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Smitty Chesterfield February 18, 2013 at 05:04 AM
Or like someone misspelling an old wrestler's name as an alias while trolling.
Active Yorktowner February 18, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Good one Smitty...as far as Bruno's post. Dr. Schectman has been around a long time. I seriously doubt he needs to go "trolling" for new clients. Frankly I enjoy reading his posts and learning what I need to know regarding my kids. Next, no parent is going to go to him just because of his posts. Every parent I know gets at least two or three consults before deciding on an orthodontist. If they don't, they have done themselves and their child a disservice as one ortho may have a different course of treatment. Finally, so what...an orthodontist can't go looking for new clients? Like anyone else he needs to make a living, and if he can do a service for the community and they in turn learn about him good for him.
LM February 19, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Agreee Active Yorktowner! I look to the Patch Blog for information from local professionals. As a mother of a 6 year old, I found this article very helpful & informative! The fact that Dr. Schechtman is taking the time to education the community is very commendable. In no way do I see this as "trolling" for new clients. Looking forward to more articles like this. keep up the good work Dr. Schectman!
Skeptical Tim February 19, 2013 at 06:28 PM
I agree

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