“The American Association of Orthodontists recommends ALL children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. Because patients differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, the orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time”
–American Association of Orthodontists
Why Your Children Should Be Screened By Age 7
- The developing growth pattern and airway
- Assess the future spacing requirements
- Screen for detrimental habits and traumatic bites
With this information, Orchin + Orchin Specialists in Orthodontics can advise the family on what the future orthodontic treatment plan may be. It also allows them to develop a relationship with the child and reinforce the importance of overall oral health. By age 7, Drs. Andrew and Jill Orchin can assess growth patterns which directly relate to bite and alignment issues. Some conditions need to be treated by age 8, otherwise jaw surgery may be indicated.
One very important screening tool is checking on the abnormal eruption pattern of developing permanent canine teeth. A simple screening for the indicators that contribute to the ultimate increased likelihood of canine impaction (teeth stuck in bone) allows Drs. Andrew and Jill Orchin to treatment plan accordingly, and often optimally timed treatment for space development eliminates the need for surgical exposure and forced eruption of the impacted teeth, which is an uncomfortable and lengthy treatment. Often the recommendation of early removal of a baby tooth or two can prevent a small issue from turning into a large one!
Children can also be screened for Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) with an early visit to the orthodontist. Did you know children shouldn’t snore? With airway trained orthodontists, like Drs. Jill and Andrew Orchin, all patients are screened for airway issues. If an anatomical condition is suspected that may be contributing to SDB, appropriate referrals for further evaluation are given, and recommendations for orthodontic development for an improved airway may be prescribed. “Airway friendly” orthodontists have an awareness of customizing and developing treatment plans for comprehensive well-being. Sleep Disordered Breathing can lead to behavioral difficulties, hyperactivity, poor school performance and bed-wetting. Untreated childhood SDB may permanently alter a child’s cognitive potential.
It is also beneficial to see children at age 7 to screen for the possibility of increased trauma to the teeth if they stick out too far. By this age, the upper incisors should be present, and if they are flared forward, or there is the presence of a large space between the upper and lower front teeth, this indicates there may be a higher risk for trauma to these teeth. Early intervention, when appropriate, can reduce the risk.
7 Signs the Bite is Not Right:
- Do the upper teeth stick out too far (buck teeth)? This increases the risk of damaging them
- Is there a deep bite? The upper front teeth cover the lower front teeth too much
- Is there an open bite? The child can stick his or her tongue between the upper and lower front teeth when the back teeth are together
- Is there an underbite? The upper teeth fit inside the arch of the lower teeth
- How is the spacing between the teeth? Noticeably large gaps between the teeth
- How is the crowding of the teeth? Crowded or overlapped or blocked out teeth
- Do the midlines line up? The spaces between the two upper front teeth and the two lower front teeth should line up with the bridge of the nose. When they do not, the probable cause is drifted teeth or a shifted lower jaw, resulting in an improper bite.
Orchin + Orchin Specialists in Orthodontics feels it is very important to have all children screened by age 7. It is a complimentary service we provide, and there is no referral necessary form your general dentist. If you have any questions, or want to schedule your free exam, please call us at 651-333-6162. We look forward to hearing from you!