Children’s Orthodontics in Vancouver: When Should You Start?

Most parents schedule regular doctor and dentist appointments for their children. But what about orthodontic care in Surrey?

At what age should a child start visiting an orthodontist? Is it really necessary? How might early treatment benefit your child? If you’re a parent in Vancouver, you might be wondering when your child should start orthodontic care. Keep reading to find out.

The Canadian Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. Here are a couple of reasons why.

At age seven, there is a wide disparity in tooth development. It can take an expert to tell if a child actually has an orthodontic issue, or if the child’s teeth are developing normally. Some common orthodontic issues at this early age can include excessive spacing, overcrowded teeth, overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, or protruding teeth. By this age, an orthodontist can usually determine whether or not there will be enough room to accommodate the permanent or “adult” teeth.  

Many orthodontic issues are much easier to treat when caught at an early stage when a child’s teeth are still rapidly growing. The goal of early treatment (sometimes known as Phase One) is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems. Often, when caught early, treatment will be much more simple. When left untreated, some orthodontic issues could require surgery or extractions. Early treatment helps to make room for the permanent teeth to grow properly.  


How Do I Know if My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?

There are a few signs that your child might need orthodontic treatment.  

-If your child’s teeth appear to be crooked or overlapping, they will likely need some form of orthodontic treatment. This can be caused by genetics or other factors.

-Your child is a mouth breather. This can cause several complications for a child’s developing mouth.  

-Your child is or was a thumb sucker. Sucking the thumb can cause several bad bites.

-If your child has speech difficulties such as slurring words, difficulty pronouncing words, or other speech impediments, this could be a sign of an orthodontic issue. Speech has a lot to do with the alignment of the jaw and teeth.  

-Early or late loss of baby teeth can affect the way the permanent teeth grow. While children will lose their teeth on their schedule, they typically lose the first tooth around age five or six and should lose all the baby teeth by age 12 or 13.

-If your child has difficulty eating, this could be a sign of a misaligned jaw or teeth. Pain while chewing isn’t normal. If you notice your child is avoiding food due to pain, or not chewing well, they will likely need orthodontic care.  

If your child has been referred to an orthodontist by your family dentist, is showing signs of needing orthodontic treatment, or is around the age of seven and has yet to visit an orthodontist, now is the time to make an appointment. Call us today at PacificWest Dental in Vancouver to set up an initial consultation.

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