Guest Blogger, Dr. Sam Polan
Excerpt: Why schedule a first orthodontic visit at age 7? The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children visit an orthodontist for the first time by the age of 7. But why is that?
When you think of someone in braces, chances are you probably picture a teenager, right? But did you know that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see the orthodontist for the first time at the age of seven?
“Seven seems young to a lot of parents, but it’s important that children see an orthodontist for the first time around this age,” says Dr. Sam Polan of Tuckahoe Family Orthodontics. “Most children won’t need braces at the age of 7, but for those that do, early treatment can make a big difference. Even if no treatment is needed, beginning a relationship with an orthodontist at this age can ensure that if and when braces or other treatment are needed in the future, the treatment is started at the ideal time to achieve the best results.”
Dr. Polan offers some other reasons why parents of children around age 7 should schedule orthodontic consultations.
- Orthodontists can identify subtle problems with dental development and jaw growth that you, or even your child’s primary care dentist, might not notice. An orthodontist will check to make sure emerging permanent teeth are developing properly, and that the jaws are growing the way they should. If any problems are noted, your orthodontist will tell you whether it is something that is best treated now, or if it can wait. Certain problems can be managed more effectively if identified and treated earlier in development, so it’s important to have an orthodontist check how your child’s mouth is progressing while the jaw is still growing, and when there is a mix of baby and permanent teeth.
- A consultation may reveal that everything looks great, but it could reveal an emerging problem that will need treatment now or in the future. By monitoring your child’s development, your orthodontist will be able to begin treatment at the best time to achieve the most healthy and properly functioning smile he or she can.
- When indicated, early treatment may actually save you time and money. Treating certain orthodontic issues when they first emerge can actually prevent more serious problems from occurring. In many cases, early treatment can make later treatment (when all the baby teeth are gone) shorter and less complicated. In some cases, it can be avoided completely. Early treatment for certain patients may allow the orthodontist to achieve results that otherwise wouldn’t be possible at a later stage of development.
- A timely first visit to the orthodontist gives you the best opportunity to guide the growth of your child’s jaws, address potentially harmful oral habits such as thumbsucking, which can progressively worsen the bite and become harder to correct if not addressed in a timely manner.
- Consultations are free to you. Most orthodontists, Dr. Polan included, offer a free consultation. While most kids won’t need treatment at their first visit if seen at age 7, it’s always important to have an evaluation done, so most orthodontists offer a free consultation to make this visit easy and stress-free.
“Every orthodontist’s goal is to give his or her patients a beautiful and healthy functioning smile,” says Dr. Polan. “To ensure this happens, we need to be able to recommend the appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. Beginning a relationship with an orthodontist at the age of 7 allows us to do that, and gives your child the best opportunity at a healthy, great-looking smile.”
About Dr. Sam Polan
Dr. Sam Polan is an experienced and passionate orthodontic expert treating patients in the Tuckahoe, NY area. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Dr. Polan went on to Columbia University, where he earned his D.D.S. degree and an M.S. degree in Orthodontics. He is dedicated to continuing his knowledge by seeking out the latest research and advances in the orthodontic world.
Dr. Polan provides the best in orthodontic treatment, from classic methods to state-of-the-art technology. His goal is to help every patient achieve his or her best smile. Dr. Polan works hard to provide expert level orthodontic care, while also making sure his patients have fun along the way.