Do you suspect that your child may need braces or other orthodontic treatment? There are many different reasons to see an orthodontist, including crooked teeth, gaps, and jaw problems. Keep reading to learn what issues orthodontics can help with, when to seek treatment, and why you should visit a certified AAO orthodontist.
Why Visit an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists specialize in moving teeth and aligning jaws. Bring your child in for an orthodontic consultation if he or she has any of the following issues:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking, finger sucking, or other oral habits
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked-out teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude, or are recessed
- Speech difficulties
- Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
- Facial imbalance or asymmetry
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Inability to comfortably close lips
For more info, check out this guide from the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO): Problems to Watch for in Growing Children.
When Is the Best Time to Seek Treatment?
The best time for your child’s first orthodontic check up is no later than age 7. Read our previous post to learn more.
5 Reasons to See an Orthodontist Vs. Dentist
All orthodontists are dentists. But not all dentists are orthodontists. Most general dentists (a.k.a. family dentists) do not have the additional education needed to specialize in orthodontics. An AAO orthodontist, like Dr. Dougherty:
- Has 2-3 years of specialized education beyond dental school
- Specializes in straightening teeth
- Specializes in aligning jaws
- Has expert knowledge of new orthodontic technologies
- Has the expertise needed to choose the correct treatment option for each patient