Planning for your child’s health can include shots, pediatric appointments, and of course, dental care. Many parents understand the importance of visiting a pediatric dentist for their child, and typically bring them for the first time during the toddler years. However, it is just as important to start thinking about, and planning, when your child will need to see an orthodontist. One thing to keep in mind is the ease of having your initial child’s dentist also act as your child’s orthodontist. Not every dentist can practice both, but Maestri Family Dentistry specializes in family dentistry and pediatric orthodontics. Dr. Maestri and her team work with children of all ages in Lafayette to address every orthodontic need.
Dental Care for Your Growing Child
A child’s first visit to the dentist typically should happen in the first 1-2 years. This visit will primarily focus on familiarizing your child with brushing teeth and making sure the pacifier hasn’t damaged their teeth. (And of course if you are still using the pacifier, your dentist will give you a stern talk to finally drop it.) Next, you will be asked to make yearly visits to make sure teeth are properly being attended to and that growth is normal. Parents will want to give extra attention while their child brushes their teeth to make sure they are being thorough and completing the job correctly. Your dentist may also recommend your child drinking water with a specific level of fluoride to help fight activities. The CDC has a great article on dental care for your child available for further education.
When Should a Child be Evaluated for Orthodontic Needs?
While a child can be evaluated at any time, and you may have previously planned to wait until the pre-teen stage, the earliest and best age to start is around age seven. This may seem young, but remember this isn’t to start orthodontic treatment, but instead to be evaluated. At this age, children have a mix of baby and adult teeth. If there are any issues detected at this time, your orthodontist will more likely take a “wait and see” approach, and keep an eye as they continue to grow the rest of their permanent teeth.
What will the Orthodontist be Looking For?
Many adults mistake that orthodontic treatment is just about straightening a smile. While an attractive smile is definitely a byproduct of orthodontic treatment, the real purpose is to create a healthy and functional bite, specifically making sure teeth are aligning correctly with the jaw. When both of these are correctly aligned, the mouth functions as it was intended to. Ultimately, tending to your child’s orthodontic needs will help them eat and chew correctly, as well as help communicate with clear speech. And while a straight attractive smile is also a benefit, it cannot be outstated the confidence and self-esteem it can bring your child as they begin their teenage years. A common misconception many parents believe is that teeth will just straighten out as your child grows. This is incorrect, and why the need for early orthodontia evaluations are beneficial.
What if my Child is Past the Recommended Age to see an Orthodontist?
It is never too late to see your orthodontist! Some children end up seeing one in their teen years or adults visit for the first time way past childhood. While this is not recommended, do not shy away or think it’s too late to finally attend to your teeth health.
Maestri Family Dentistry: Your Local Dentist and Orthodontist, All in One
It definitely takes a special dentist to also be trained in orthodontia, which is why starting your child with Maestri is the most logical choice. Your child will benefit from having local experts right here in Lafayette, LA, and won’t have to face the sometimes intimidating process of feeling comfortable with a whole new doctor, since Dr. Maestri practices both. Contact Maestri’s team to start with an initial consultation, and your child will be on their way to a perfect smile and complete dental health.