School’s out for summer and if it’s not yet, it’s about to be. And while we think about summer as a time for swimming, camping, baseball and kicking back with the kids, it’s also a good time to tackle those pesky little tasks that are hard to accomplish when kids are in school all day. Think doctor and dentist appointments. If you’re the mom of a kiddo in early elementary school, add a braces consultation to that list.
We know what you’re thinking, braces are for tweens and teens, right? Well, in many cases they are but the braces consultation should come long before the braces! In fact, the American Academy of Orthodontics recommends that children have their first braces consultation by the age of seven. Yes, you read that right, seven.
What is a Braces Consultation?
A braces consultation is the initial appointment with an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in diagnosing and treating over/underbites, gaps in teeth, teeth crowding, jaw misalignments, and other bite issues.
During a braces consultation, the orthodontist will chat with your child, look at their teeth, and maybe take an x-ray or two. Based on what they see, they will then talk with mom and dad about their recommendations.
While many people think the goal of orthodontics is simply about having a straighter, more beautiful smile, there are so many other reasons to correct teeth misalignments beyond just physical appearance. When the teeth or jaw is misaligned, chewing can be impacted, causing nutritional and digestion problems. When teeth are crowded, the simple tasks of brushing and flossing can be difficult or impossible. The ultimate goal of an orthodontist is to make sure your child’s smile is healthy which ultimately supports their overall health too.
If the orthodontist doesn’t see any issues of concern, they may simply recommend actions for good oral care with a recommendation to return if something changes. They might recommend another follow up in another year or they might recommend treatment at that time to make future orthodontic treatment easier.
But Why My 1st Grader?
That’s all great, but why does the braces consultation need to be done by the age of seven? It’s all about early intervention. Like so many other health concerns, catching problems with teeth early on can make the treatment much easier and provide better outcomes. By seeing potential problems as permanent teeth are coming in alongside baby teeth, orthodontists can be pro-active in a correction plan. If it is determined that braces are needed, catching it early can make the future treatment shorter and less complicated.
If you have a 1st grader, now is the time to get them scheduled for a braces consultation. If you’ve missed that 7-year-old mark, it’s ok. Give us a call to get scheduled for your free braces consultation this summer and get the peace of mind in knowing you’ve done your part in preventing bigger problems in the future.