Having an orthodontist look at a seven-year-old can sound like overkill. What’s the point of looking at the teeth and jaw of a child who still has so much growing to do and so many baby teeth to lose? But the fact that the mouth isn’t finished yet is exactly the point: orthodontists can spot problems before they become unavoidable and can do a lot more than just put on some braces.
One important fact to understand is that while baby teeth might not be permanent, they guide adult teeth into place. So any problems the baby teeth experience, problems like crowding or a crossbite, can transfer right over to the adult teeth. Baby teeth can also cause issues if they fall out too soon or too late because in the first case they aren’t there to guide the adult teeth into place and in the second case they can push the adult teeth out of alignment.
The jaw can also cause problems if it isn’t big enough to hold every adult tooth and if it isn’t developing fast enough. Waiting to handle problems like this can only make them worse, and so early exams with orthodontists give kids and their parents more options and cheaper solutions than if they had waited until after most or all of the adult teeth had grown in.
In fact, an early enough intervention can mean doing without braces altogether in some cases. By pulling baby teeth out at just the right time, orthodontists can give the adult teeth the best opportunity possible to come in straight and perfectly aligned with the teeth next to them. They can also identify problem behaviors in children that can misalign teeth, things like chewing on pencils or thumbs.
A perfect smile doesn’t have to be expensive, and it comes with more benefits than self-esteem, and that’s a fairly important benefit on its own. By visiting an orthodontist early, you make it more likely for that perfect smile to happen and for it to come faster, cheaper, and easier than it could have come if you had waited even just a few years more.