The Best Age to Get an Orthodontic Consultation
We recommend that children see an orthodontist at the age of five so that the growth of their jaws and their bite can be evaluated. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children wait until seven years of age for their evaluation appointment, however, our patients have benefitted from the early detection of problems with breathing, habits, airway restriction, sleep apnea and permanent tooth eruption.
Airway Restrictions and Breathing Issues
Airway restrictions and breathing problems are often overlooked by parents and sometimes even the pediatrician. A detailed medical history, comprehensive clinical examination and 3D images of the sinus and airway frequently reveal problems that can be addressed by the orthodontist and medical specialists. Often parents are unaware that challenges with chronic illness and problematic behavior at home and school are a result of breathing problems.
Studies indicate that up to 12% of children suffer from sleep apnea and up until now this has been overlooked to a large degree. Too many times our younger patients are categorized as “problem kids” when in fact they are suffering from lack of quality sleep. Believe it or not, even bedwetting can be caused by sleep apnea. We now know that with orthodontic treatment, better behavior may be right around the corner. Thanks to the combined effort of airway focused dentists, orthodontists and physicians, children with sleep apnea are now finding help.
A common problem found during early orthodontic evaluation is when permanent teeth are growing or erupting in the wrong direction. Amazingly, these teeth can be redirected by selective removal of primary teeth avoiding expensive surgery later. Some problems with small jaw size
and the bite can be more easily addressed at a young age making the entire orthodontic
experience much more pleasant for the patient.
Dentist Referrals for Orthodontic Consultation
Children should see an orthodontist by five years of age even if they have not been referred by the family dentist or pediatric dentist. If you call an office that says “your child is too young” then we will help guide you to an airway focused specialist in your area. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office!