What is the Best Age For a Child to See an Orthodontist?

What is the Best Age For a Child to See an Orthodontist?.jpeg

Guest Blogger, Dr. Updike from Updike Orthodontics

While the most common image of someone in braces is a teenager, children should actually see an orthodontist much earlier than their teen years.

When you picture someone in an orthodontist’s chair, do you picture a teenager, getting his or her braces adjusted? While the image of a teenager with a mouth full of metal is commonplace, children should actually visit an orthodontist for the first time right around the seventh birthday.

“The American Association of Orthodontists recommends seven as the ideal time for children to have their first consultation with an orthodontist,” says Irvine orthodontist Dr. Sophia Updike. “Parents might think this seems young, but it’s actually the ideal time for us to observe what is currently happening in the mouth, and what will happen as the child grows. Then, we can determine if any interventive treatment is needed, and begin at precisely the correct time to have the most impact.”

Orthodontists work to ensure that your child’s smile is not just beautifully straight, but will function properly, too. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to ensure teeth are straight and jaws are properly aligned, and the earlier an orthodontist can begin to observe what is happening in your child’s mouth, the better.

“The baby teeth lay the groundwork for the permanent teeth,” says Dr. Updike. “Seven is the ideal time for us to get a picture of what is happening in your child’s mouth. We can make sure the baby teeth are falling out the way they should, and check to be sure there is adequate room for the permanent teeth to erupt properly.”

But more than that, an orthodontist can determine if there are any underlying issues that could pose a potential problem. The teeth may look straight to you, but there may be problems that could worsen as the child gets older. Deep bites, open bites, crossbites, crowding and spacing issues and other problems can be more easily corrected while the child’s jaw is still growing.

By the time your child turns seven, he or she will most likely have enough of a mix between permanent and baby teeth to evaluate and ensure everything is developing as it should. Parents should not wait until all permanent teeth have erupted to schedule the first orthodontic consultation. There are also some habits and other indicators that parents should be on the lookout for, including:

  • Baby teeth fall out too early or too late
  • Problems chewing or biting
  • Sucks thumb or uses pacifier for extended time period
  • Problems speaking
  • Grinds or clenches teeth
  • Teeth look crowded or misplaced

If you are from Irvine, Tustin, Santa Ana, Costa Mesa, Orange County, Lake Forest, CA areas and your child is seven or older and has not had a consultation with an orthodontist yet, call Updike Orthodontics today at 949-870-9713. Dr. Updike works with patients of all ages and can help parents determine the right time to begin treatment to ensure a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime.

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How to Choose the Right Orthodontist

How-to-Choose-the-Right-Orthodontist

Guest Post from Dr. Heather Desh 

How to Choose the Right Orthodontist

Orthodontic treatment requires a trusting relationship. Do you know how to choose the right orthodontist for you?

When you make the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment, building a relationship with the right doctor is essential because a beautiful, healthy smile doesn’t happen overnight. Starting orthodontic treatment means making a big commitment to one orthodontist for several years, so it is important to choose a doctor you’re comfortable with. As with any healthy relationship, it should be built on trust, understanding and communication.

Choosing an orthodontist can be difficult. With so many to choose from, how can you be sure the one you pick is right for you? There are several things that should be included in your research.

  1. Ask people you trust for their opinions. Do you have a close friend or family member who has undergone treatment, or has a child who has? Ask them who they used, and if they’d recommend that office. You should also ask your dentist and hygienist. If your dentist has an orthodontist he or she regularly recommends, it’s a great sign you can trust the work of that office.
  2. Be sure you are seeing a certified orthodontist. Many dentists offer some kinds of orthodontic care in their office (i.e. Invisalign and Six Month Smiles). While dentists provide excellent general dental care, periodontal maintenance and cosmetic needs, only a trained and certified orthodontist has the unique knowledge and extra 2-3 years training needed to ensure not just a pretty smile, but a perfectly functioning bite as well. It’s also important to ask whether the doctor is board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics, a prestige held by only 20% of orthodontists. Read more about why that is important here.
  3. Meet the orthodontist! Most practices will offer a free consultation visit so that you can visit the office and meet the orthodontist before making a financial commitment. As stated above, you’ll be embarking on a 1-2 year relationship with this person, so make sure it’s someone you’re comfortable with and trust. Did the orthodontist take the time to address your questions and concerns? Good doctors are good teachers so should be able to explain why they recommend a particular treatment and the expected results.
  4. See the office in person. Often times, the best way to see if an orthodontic office will be a good fit for you is to visit the office. Do you feel comfortable? Does the office provide the amenities you’re looking for? Was the staff warm and inviting? Gone are the days of visiting a dreary dental office; today you are investing in not only a service (ortho treatment), but also an experience.
  5. Does the office use state-of-the-art technology? Technology in the orthodontics world is moving quickly, so it’s important your orthodontist stays up-to-date in order to provide you with the best and most efficient care. Digital technology also has the advantages of reduced waste and significantly decreased radiation.
  6. Does your insurance cover this particular orthodontist? If not, and this is the orthodontist you feel most comfortable with, what are the payment options? Will the office provide you with all fees upfront, so you’ll know what to expect? Make sure you find out whether the fees are all-inclusive or if things like records, retainers, clear braces are provided at an additional cost.
  7. What type of treatment does the orthodontist recommend? Get a detailed treatment plan from the orthodontist, and if visiting more than one before making your final decision, compare them. Are there things that are very different? If so, ask the orthodontists why. Learning their approach to treatment can help you better know if the orthodontist will be an ideal fit for you.
  8. Where is the office located? Is it convenient for you? Does the office offer hours that will fit into your schedule? While that shouldn’t be the most important thing when choosing an orthodontist, it is something to consider. If you have to drive a bit of a distance, and the office doesn’t offer times that conveniently fit into your schedule, it can make it harder to commit fully to your treatment. Keeping your maintenance appointments on schedule is important to ensuring your treatment stays on track.

If you’re interested in orthodontic treatment, I invite you to call our office today to set up a complimentary consultation and see if we’re a good fit for you. I look forward to meeting you and hope to begin a meaningful relationship with a beautiful final treatment result!

Dr-Heather-Desh-3About Dr. Heather Desh

Dr. Heather Desh of HD Orthodontics is a board certified long beach orthodontist and dentofacial orthopedics. Dr. Desh provides best orthodontic care including early treatments for children as well as treatments for teens and adults from long beach, CA and surrounding areas.

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