One of the benefits of taking your child to see the dentist regularly is that he or she can monitor your child’s teeth and alert you to the need for orthodontic treatment. Parents can also look for warning signs so they are prepared to ask the dentist about any problematic teeth or mouth structures. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests all children should be evaluated by the age of 7 to determine the need or timeline for orthodontic treatment. It is important to talk to your child’s dentist about your options if you notice any of the following signs:
- Crowded/overlapped teeth or highly separated teeth
- Upper and lower teeth do not touch when chewing
- Upper front teeth fall behind the bottom teeth when chewing
- Upper front teeth extend too far over the bottom teeth when chewing, or protrude at an odd angle
- Lower jaw shifts to one side when chewing
In addition, if your child still sucks his or her thumb after age 6 or so, there may be an increased risk for crooked teeth. The same goes for people who experience early or late loss of baby teeth and consistently breathe through their mouths. Ask your child’s dentist if it’s time for an orthodontic review. By staying aware of these signs and communicating with your dentist, you can make sure your child gets the treatment she needs at the correct time.