Guide to Your Kid’s Visit to an Orthodontist

A kids orthodontist is a dental specialist who provides important screenings and treatments that can prevent the need for more costly, extensive treatments later. Your child should visit an orthodontist, even if you don’t see obvious issues with their teeth or jaw. The preventative screenings you get from an orthodontist are essential for ensuring your child has a healthy, glowing smile.

How is an Orthodontist Different from a Dentist?

Dentists provide oral health care, including preventative care and corrective treatments. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed dental school, followed by at least two years in an orthodontics residency program.

A child sits in a dental chair as a dentist examines her mouth.

Dentists prevent, manage, and treat oral health issues like cavities, broken teeth, infections, and gum disease. Orthodontists specialize in how the teeth and jaw align. They detect problems with alignment and use devices like braces to correct those issues. They can also perform surgery to straighten teeth.

What Do Kids Orthodontists Do?

Orthodontists do not need special pediatric training to work with kids as pediatric dentists do. An orthodontics residency program prepares professionals to work with patients of all ages. This includes the very important years of late childhood and adolescence when the jaw is still growing.

Orthodontic services for children include prevention, screenings, and treatment steps, such as:

  • A physical examination and X-rays of the mouth to analyze teeth and jaw positioning
  • Tooth impressions to develop a treatment plan for realigning teeth or the jaw
  • Monitor the growth and development of the jaw
  • Create treatment plans for early intervention of alignment issues
  • Install palate expanders, which can help widen the upper jaw and give the teeth more room to grow into place
  • Install braces to correct more serious misalignments
  • Removal of impacted baby teeth, which can help better position permanent teeth

When Should Your Child See an Orthodontist?

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, children should have their first checkup with an orthodontist by the age of seven at the latest. Even if your child has no apparent signs of problems with their jaws or teeth, an early visit is essential for several reasons:

 A dental exam room is brightly colored and decorated with fish in an underwater scene.

  • A kids orthodontist looks for issues with the development of the jaw and teeth that are subtle and that regular dental care might not detect. Even when your child still has baby teeth, an orthodontist can identify signs of potential problems.
  • By finding issues early, your orthodontist can guide better growth in the jaw and the direction of permanent teeth.
  • Early treatment plans are usually simpler and easier to implement than later treatments used to correct issues that have had time to worsen.
  • Orthodontic care is not just cosmetic. It can also ensure your child can speak clearly or bite and chew food correctly.

Keep in mind that not all early appointments with an orthodontist result in treatment. Your orthodontist might find that your child’s jaw and tooth development is normal. They might also recommend monitoring an issue that doesn’t yet require treatment.

What is the Average Cost of Braces for a Child?

 A girl stands in a dental X-ray machine in a brightly-decorated room.
One important reason to make sure your child sees an orthodontist early is to avoid expensive treatments later. Even with early care, your child might need braces but for less time than if you let the issue go untreated for too long.

The cost of braces often varies, but getting your child checked out sooner can reduce cost in the long run. If you wait too long, they might need more extensive corrections and need to wear braces for longer.

Many kids orthodontists offer free consultations (such as Newtown Orthodontics!) so you can find out if your child has any issues at no cost. They can also help you determine an estimated cost for treatment and what your insurance will cover. Contact Newtown Dentistry today to make an orthodontic appointment for our child. Schedule your appointment online or call us at (215) 706-8734

  • AUTHOR

    Ady Murtaza

  • DATE

    June 3, 2022

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