At what age should a child visit an orthodontist?
There is no set age for a child to visit an orthodontist like Dr. April Lee of Burlingame Smile Studio – some children go at six years old, some children at 10 years old, and some go as teenagers. Even adults visit an orthodontist for treatment. Many orthodontists say that a child should visit an orthodontist before the age of seven so that all problems can be noticed early. This does not mean that the child will immediately receive braces. But the orthodontist will know what problems exist and will be able to choose the best time to start treatment.
What usually happens there?
When you first go to an orthodontist, you will visit an office that is very similar to your dentist’s office. You will sit in a dentist’s chair and an orthodontic technician or assistant can take a picture of your mouth or teeth with X-rays or computer images. X-rays and pictures show the orthodontist where the teeth are placed and whether you have teeth that have not yet entered.
An orthodontist can also make a mold (or impression) on your teeth by pressing a tray of flexible material into your upper and lower teeth. When removed, it will leave a perfect impression on the shape and size of your teeth. Mold helps the orthodontist decide how to straighten teeth. The orthodontist will examine your teeth, mouth, and jaw. He or she may ask you to open or bite your teeth wide and may ask you if you have trouble chewing or swallowing, or if your jaws click or crack when you open your mouth. An orthodontist can tell you and your parents that your teeth and jaws are fine or recommend that you start treatment.
What exactly are braces?
The braces correct the way the teeth are placed by constant pressure on the teeth, which eventually moves them to a flatter position. The holder also puts pressure on the teeth and can also be used to keep the teeth upright after wearing braces. Sometimes an orthodontist may recommend removing one or more teeth to create more space in your mouth.