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Experts in orthodontics agree that it’s best for every child to be screened by a dentist or orthodontist for early bite concerns by age 7. This age is the point when your child will have a mixture of both permanent (adult) and primary (baby) teeth, and it gives a window for specialists to gain insight into your child’s oral development.

When caught early, it's possible to prevent the need for major orthodontic treatment or reconstructive surgery when your child is older.

Preventive screenings can help to reduce the likelihood of problems like speech issues, dental emergencies, and improve your child's overall oral health. Braces are not necessary for most children under seven years of age. However, having an annual or bi-annual evaluation at this stage in a child’s development will help you catch minor problems before they become major ones.

At San Antonio Orthodontics, we'll check your child's oral health at each visit to make sure everything is developing properly.

What Happens at an Orthodontic Screening?

These are some of the things that our orthodontist will be looking for when you have an orthodontic evaluation.

● How upper and lower teeth bite (occlude) together
● Open, cross, or underbites
● Tooth eruption patterns
● Premature tooth loss
● Spacing concerns
● Oral habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting that change the shape of the jaws
● X-rays to determine if there are missing or unerupted teeth
● Development and placement of permanent teeth

Benefits of Children's Orthodontic Screenings

If orthodontic problems are detected early, treatments will usually be more successful and far less complex. Many cases can be minimized by using interceptive therapies like growth modification to reduce the length of time a child will need braces.

For instance, if a tooth comes out prematurely, a space maintainer can be attached to the next tooth to prevent the space from collapsing due to the tooth shifting. Although this may not seem to be a major concern, it can directly impact whether or not the adult tooth erupts correctly. If it isn’t caught early, more long-term orthodontic work will be necessary to correct the condition.

The Important of Early Screenings

If your child is approaching seven years of age or they are already older than that, it's time to start planning an orthodontic screening appointment. It's similar to an eye exam, a "well" visit, or routine dental check-ups. It will be easier to address it at this age and create a positive experience for your family. That way, it’s not more intimidating to your child or teen later on. It's easier to get rid of all the unknowns before they become a problem. That way, your child’s care results in shorter, better, and more affordable treatment.

Plan a visit with Dr. Vandeberg to ensure your child's oral health or discuss their orthodontic needs. Call San Antonio Orthodontics in San Antonio today to schedule your child's visit with our orthodontic specialist. We’ll help your child keep their smile healthy for life!