Summer break is a time for fun, vacations, and relaxation. It’s also an ideal time to catch up on things you’ve been putting off due to the busy school year schedule, such as dental checkups and orthodontic evaluations. If your kids haven’t had a dental checkup and teeth cleaning in 6 months, they are due for one as soon as possible.
Another appointment to consider making this summer is an orthodontic evaluation. Are any of your children 7 years old or older? Dentists and orthodontists agree that children should have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7 to determine if any early treatment is necessary.
Benefits of Dental Checkups and Cleanings
There are many reasons why children need regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings:
- Prevent tooth decay. Even if children brush their teeth well on a daily basis (which most don’t) there will still be some plaque left behind on the teeth. Dental cleanings remove plaque that can cause tooth decay.
- Prevent gum disease. Removal of plaque is also important to prevent gum disease. When there is too much plaque build up on the teeth that is not removed, it hardens into calculus and may infect the gum tissue, resulting in gum disease.
- Early detection of cavities. If a cavity forms in a tooth, the sooner it is found and treated the better. A simple cavity filling is a much shorter process than a root canal if the cavity becomes too deep. It can mean the difference between saving a tooth and having it extracted.
- Early detection of soft tissue abnormalities. An important part of dental checkups is an oral cancer screening. An inspection of the mouth, face, and neck will detect any soft tissue abnormalities that may need to be addressed. Early detection greatly improves outcomes.
- Orthodontic screening. Dental checkups also include a basic orthodontic screening. If your dentist notices any potential problems with the alignment of your teeth or bite, they may refer you to an orthodontist for a more in-depth evaluation.
Benefits of Orthodontic Evaluations
Orthodontic evaluations offer many benefits, especially when they are scheduled early, such as:
- Growth modification. When the shape of the jaw and the position of the teeth is not ideal at a young age, growth modification is the process of applying orthodontic treatment to encourage the jaw to grow into a more desirable shape.
- Minimize future treatment. In many cases early orthodontic intervention can reduce the extent of treatment that will be needed later in life. Two-phase orthodontics refers to treatment that occurs at different ages.
- Improved dental health. Orthodontic problems that appear early can be corrected before the problem becomes more serious, improving dental health as a child grows.
- Protect the permanent teeth. While baby teeth will be shed, the permanent teeth need to last for the rest of a child’s life. Orthodontic treatment helps to protect the permanent teeth from damage due to misalignment.
What If My Child Doesn’t Need Treatment Yet?
In some cases an orthodontic evaluation will determine that a child does not yet need orthodontic treatment, but that they will later on when they are older. Regular monitoring appointments should take place every 6 months until the child is ready for treatment.
When is the Best Time For My Child to Get Braces?
The ideal time for braces is when the baby teeth have been shed and the permanent teeth have come in. This usually occurs by the age of 11-12. The adolescent years are ideal for orthodontic treatment because the growth spurts that occur during this age make it easier for the teeth to be shifted and the jaw to be reshaped for optimal alignment of the teeth and bite.
TW Orthodontics Provides Complimentary Consultations
Is it time for your child to have an orthodontic evaluation? If they are 7 years old or older, it is time to schedule an initial consultation. TW Orthodontics provides complimentary consultations for first time patients. If no treatment is needed at this time, we will provide periodic monitoring until it is the right time for treatment to begin.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.