Why To See An Orthodontist Before The Age Of Seven

At Dougherty Orthodontics, we share your concern for your child’s health and well-being. That is why we believe in taking your child to an orthodontist by age seven for an early evaluation! To give you the most accurate information about the benefits of early treatment, we spoke to Dr. Dougherty! Let’s see what she has to say.

How do you know if your child needs orthodontic work?

The best and easiest way to know if your child needs braces is to take them to an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Dougherty! 

At your child’s initial examination, Dr. Dougherty will examine their teeth placement, jaw location, and facial structure. She will recommend treatment if she finds any cause for concern (including but not limited to an overbite, underbite, overcrowding, and spacing).

We are happy to report that most children do not need braces immediately, and some will never require treatment. However, it is best to assess them early so that we can address any problems as soon as possible. Because children’s bones have not fully developed, modifying their teeth and jaw placement is easier than if they were adults. As your child ages, orthodontic work becomes more complicated, expensive, and uncomfortable.

Why would a child need orthodontic work?

Braces can positively impact your child’s quality of life by improving their oral, physical, and mental health. 

Oral Health

Teeth that are misaligned are harder to clean due to hard-to-reach places or discomfort. Poor oral hygiene habits could lead to complex and costly problems later in life. The inability to perform adequate oral hygiene allows for a build-up of bacteria and plaque, which causes bad breath, tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, gum disease, and possibly, even tooth loss! If your child associates dental responsibilities with negative emotions as they grow, developing healthy, consistent habits can be difficult.  

Physical Health

Correct placement of the teeth and jaw is crucial for your child to have a functional bite. Improper bites can lead to difficulties chewing. An inability to chew food effectively increases your child’s risk of choking, digestive complications, and nutrient deficiency because they are more likely to swallow prematurely. Jaw placement also affects your child’s ability to breathe and communicate comfortably. Like with brushing and flossing, children who experience negative feelings when eating will have trouble forming healthy habits with food. 

Mental Health

Feeling and looking different from your peers can take a toll on anyone, especially a child. Your child might smile, laugh, or talk less to hide any insecurity their teeth might create. A child suffering from soreness, bad breath, or feelings of inadequacy can experience isolation, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. 

Orthodontic work in children is used for preventative care (to prevent a problem from developing), interceptive care (to intercept or stop an already developing issue), and developmental growth guidance. 

You know when you are watching a superhero movie, and the superhero is already pretty awesome, but then they find a trainer who helps them be all that they can be? Some might say orthodontic work is like training a superhero! Your child is amazing with or without orthodontic care, but giving the teeth a little nudge in the right direction can unlock your child’s full potential!

What are the treatment options?

If Dr. Dougherty determines that your child needs care, she will either suggest you begin two-phase treatment (occurs in two stages with a few years in between) now or that your child starts care when they are slightly older. 

Though we also have 3M clear aligners, Dr. Dougherty recommends children get traditional metal braces because they are bonded to the teeth and the most durable. For kids who prefer a little more flair, we also offer ceramic, 3D printed, and gold braces! Which treatment type is best for your child depends on the severity of their needs, your lifestyle, and if they can handle the responsibility of a removable appliance. 

No matter the treatment route, you can be sure that Dougherty Orthodontics will give your child a beautiful, functional smile that will last a lifetime, all while having fun!

Why To See An Orthodontist Before The Age Of Seven

Visit Dougherty Orthodontics to learn more!

We know that every person’s orthodontic needs and goals are different. We also know that you only want the best for your child—in life and in orthodontic work! At Dougherty Orthodontics, we can help with both! Our team takes pride in improving the quality of life of St. Louis children through their smiles!

We have created a welcoming, compassionate environment for you and your child to feel comfortable and confident throughout your entire experience. Schedule your free consultation with us to determine if your child qualifies for orthodontic care! The appointment is commitment-free, and Dr. Dougherty will thoroughly explain the options available to you and take all the time necessary to answer any questions. 
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