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  • 5 August 2017

Early orthodontic assessment: Is it time?

Early orthodontic assessment: Is it time

Early orthodontic treatment involves expert reviewing your child's bite when the abnormality is first noticed. Bad bites often become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, as the permanent teeth erupt. Children may experience crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, protruding teeth, extra or missing teeth and sometimes jaw growth problems, and these problems can be acquired and can develop over time, caused by thumb or finger-sucking, mouth breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing, poor dental hygiene, the early or late loss of baby teeth. A proper early interception can help minimise some problems. With an early assessment, and proper orthodontic treatment, a wide range of conditions can be prevented.

There are certain behaviours and characteristics that could indicate that your child’s dental health are at risk. Some pointers will reveal themselves easily, some you’ll have to look for. Observe well and if you notice any of these symptoms, consult with an expert to get a clear understanding on what your next move should be.

  1. Early loss of baby tooth: Early loss of baby tooth is a sign that an assessment needs to be done. Usually it’s around age 6 when most children start losing their teeth. If the process started earlier, this is a good enough reason to have his/her oral health checked.
  2. Improper bite: Observe when your child is eating. See if the teeth meet properly when biting. Upper and lower ones should come together, if it doesn’t, there might be an issue of overbite or underbite. Get a second opinion on this, start by asking a dentist.
  3. Mouth breathing: Look out for mouth breathing and snoring. If your child is experiencing either of these, do not delay in consulting with an expert.
  4. Crowded teeth: See if the front teeth are crowded or overlapping each other. This is one of the most visible signs that your child’s dental health needs attention.
  5. Protruding front teeth: Front teeth can protrude for many reasons – thumb sucking, tongue posture, and differential jaw growth. Although it’s important to understand why it has occurred, what’s more important is to have measures in place to address it.
  6. Difficulty biting/chewing: Does your child have biting or chewing difficulties? You cannot have a clearer indication that it’s time. Consult with an expert dentist and learn about the necessary course of action.
  7. Speech impediment: If there is any difficulty enunciating certain sounds you should be concerned. Often this is evident in children as a lisp.
  8. Shifting jaws: If your child’s jaw shifts when s/he opens or closes the mouth, you need to visit doctor’s chamber immediately. If left untreated this can result in asymmetrical facial growth.
  9. Thumb sucking: There is another seemingly innocent thing you should consider as a symptom. If your child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb or finger, you need to get it to stop. I know, how can such adorable thing be dangerous? - but thumb or finger sucking can have a detrimental effect on the eruption and position of the teeth and the growth of the jaws, which can lead to orthodontic treatment long term.

Our dentists and oral health therapist at Ace Dental aim to provide a comfortable and thorough orthodontic experience for our patients of all ages. If required, we may also refer to an orthodontist. Call us on (07) 5532 3577 if you have any queries or concerns or if you need assistance restoring your and your family’s dental health.

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