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What is the right age for your child to be seen for Orthodontics?

What is the right age for your child to be seen for Orthodontics?
Roy Abrahams
28, Nov 2019

We always look at a child’s dental age rather than their actual age when it comes to deciding whether they’re ready for any treatment. Most parents think their children have to be teenagers before considering any orthodontic treatment, but we recommend having an orthodontic consultation once most of the baby teeth have been lost unless there is a specific problem which requires treating early. If your child has regular dental check-ups then the dentist will often pick up on any issues that may be resolved with early orthodontic treatment and will refer to us or ask you to refer. Please be aware that NHS restrictions on referrals may make it difficult for dentists to refer patients for advice and rather only when they are ready for treatment.

What to look out for in your children’s teeth development – please be aware that these issues do not necessarily need early treatment:

  • Adult front teeth are crowded.
  • Continuous thumb sucking after the age of 4 often causes teeth to move into unnatural positions.
  • Losing baby teeth earlier or later than expected so before 5 years and after 13 years of age.
  • A poor bite where teeth aren’t together and stick out.
  • Speech impediments like a lisping or slurring.
  • Crossbites.

What are the benefits of early treatment?:

Your child’s dentist will spot the signs for early orthodontic intervention as there are times when it’s more effective to act quickly. In adulthood your jawbone stops growing making orthodontic treatment more difficult. In children, we can guide the jaw bone growth changing its position and width. In adults we often need to remove teeth or even suggest dental surgery before we can fit braces but with children we can help ensure there’s enough space for adult teeth to come through in the desired position. Protruding front teeth which jut out are very vulnerable to trauma. This is especially true in young adults who play contact sports. Gum shields can minimize but not eliminate the risks. It is usually best not to pull the teeth back at an early age.

WHAT DOES EARLY ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT INVOLVE?

Fixed or detachable, removable, braces are the most common. Some crossbites are worth correcting early. If your child has a small jaw or teeth that stick out we may suggest a twin block brace. This is detachable and repositions the jaws helping them into the correct position. This is usually followed by a fixed brace.

REFERRING CHILDREN FOR AN ORTHODONTIC ASSESSMENT

You can refer your child directly for an exclusive assessment and treatment at any time for our professional opinion. This referral will have to be done privately as the NHS require a specific online referral from your dentist. If your child has an NHS assessment and meets the requirements for treatment they may be required to join a waiting list for braces. Waiting lists are caused by limited availability and funding on the NHS. Average waiting lists can be over 1 year.

For more information please call Rickmansworth Orthodontics on 01923 721156 or
email mail@royabrahams.co.uk

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