Meet Janice Sommerville
Why should my child be seen at a young age and what problems would benefit from having been diagnosed early?
This is one of many questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic assessment for children. The New Zealand Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist no later than age nine. An early assessment will help us evaluate whether your child will benefit from an early phase of orthodontic treatment or if there are any developing problems which could be minimised with the correct timely intervention.
Early treatments can be active (for example correcting a crossbite when the top front teeth develop behind the lowers), or passive such as holding space if a baby tooth is lost or extracted early. Developing crowding can indicate the use of a passive holding arch which maintains space for the permanent teeth, reducing the need for extractions in the future.
How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment;
What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early prevention benefit my child?
Orthodontic problems such as crowding, spacing, and poor jaw relationships can be caused by a multiple of factors including genetics, the function of the mouth structures, early or late loss of baby teeth, and habits.
An early assessment including an X-ray scan, even at age seven to eight years, can give you an outline of any developing problems and if any early intervention will be helpful in minimising the developing problems. This may result in the reduced likelihood of extractions or surgery in the future.
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or if you have been directed by your family dentist to visit an orthodontist, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our team will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child’s smile.
If no treatment is indicated at this early stage, we will put your child on ‘recall’ with annual checks at no extra cost to monitor when would be the most appropriate time to begin any needed treatment.