It may be hard to believe, but up to 70% of all Americans will need orthodontic treatment at sometime in their lives. However, only 20% of those individuals are over the age of 18, making orthodontia in young people much more common than in adults. Many people don’t realize that by making sure children receive an orthodontic screening by age seven (or at the time their permanent teeth start coming in, whichever is earliest), it is often possible to decrease the amount of orthodontic treatment they may need later on. It is even possible to help teeth erupt into better positions from the start, by addressing issues such as crowding now, rather than once the child’s teeth and jaw are fully developed and set. This can, at times, eliminate the later need for orthodontic treatment entirely.
Parents will be happy to know that an initial children’s orthodontic exam is painless and takes very little time. The doctor will examine your child’s teeth for crowding and other spacing problems, as well as crooked, extra, or missing teeth. The doctor will also evaluate your child’s facial growth, and discuss any habits which may impair future dental development, such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.
If it is decided that your child would benefit from early orthodontic intervention (also known as interceptive orthodontics), such as braces, a retainer, or a palatal expander, an appointment will be made to begin the process of fitting for these devices. If everything appears to be developing normally, then periodic follow-up exams will be scheduled to be sure nothing has changed which may require treatment.
If you think your child may need interceptive orthodontic treatment, Dr. Kotre is available to pre-screen him or her, and if necessary, refer you to an orthodontist who specializes in children’s orthodontic care. Call 734-677-2156 to make an appointment, or visit our website for more information.