It’s not unusual to associate orthodontics with adolescence or older children. Plenty of teens wear braces and visit their orthodontist regularly. An orthodontist, however, should be a part of your child’s oral health from a young age, even before adult teeth begin to erupt. By seeing an orthodontist early, you are potentially eliminating any risk of dental issues later.

How Old Should My Child Be?

Your child should make their first visit to their orthodontist’s office by the time they are seven years old, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. Although your child may still have their baby teeth, assessing their dental health while they are young will provide a basis for any treatment in the future.

Your child may seem young, but our orthodontist can see whether any dental issues are on the rise by examining their teeth. Even if your child’s baby teeth look straight, an orthodontist can detect the potential for a poor bite position, crooked teeth, and jaw abnormalities.

An orthodontic appointment with your child will also give you an opportunity to discuss your child’s lifestyle and oral hygiene habits. Thumb sucking is just one example of bad habits that can lead to dental problems in the future. It’s important to discuss these issues with your orthodontist so they can help formulate a specific plan for your child.

Our orthodontist can also inform you of the best oral health practices for your child. With suggestions on how to brush and floss, you can get your child in the habit of practicing good oral hygiene at an early age.

What Happens During the First Orthodontic Exam?

Part of having your child visit our office is helping them grow comfortable with a new environment. For some children, dental and orthodontist offices can seem intimidating, and it’s our goal at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists to familiarize children with the treatment room, tools, and staff so they look forward to their orthodontic appointments instead of dreading them.

During their first appointment, your child will receive a thorough examination to determine whether treatment is needed now or in the future. Photographs and x-rays may also be taken to begin an orthodontic record for your child.

As they examine your child’s teeth, jaw, and bite alignment, your orthodontist will explain what they notice and keep track of any issues they find. If your child displays orthodontic problems that warrant treatment, we will recommend the most efficient and financially sound course of action.

Your child’s first examination is a time for you to ask any questions you may have about oral hygiene at home or additional methods of treatment. Overall, it’s a learning experience for both you and your child about the best ways to care for your teeth.

What if My Child Doesn’t Need Treatment?

While many children benefit from early intervention, the majority of kids won’t need treatment until they are older and have all of their adult teeth. We provide free orthodontic exams every six months for kids to keep an updated record of their development until they either start treatment or we determine they don’t need treatment.

If it’s time for your child to make their first visit to our office, or if you’re looking for more information about the services we offer, call Charleston Orthodontic Specialists at 843-642-8100 to schedule an appointment.