When Is The Best Time For My Child’s First Orthodontic Visit?

You may be surprised to learn that it’s very important and should be done around their 7th birthday. While most problems can be successfully managed at a later age, Dr. Whitlock has special training in early orthodontic treatment and can determine the best time for your child.

  • Why are children being evaluated at such an early age?

If early orthodontic treatment is indicated, it can simplify later treatment, after all the permanent teeth come in. For example, benefits may include guiding the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth, regulating the width of the upper and lower dental arches, creating space for permanent teeth, preventing the need for permanent tooth extractions, reducing the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correcting thumb sucking, and eliminating abnormal swallowing or speech problems.

  • Does early orthodontic treatment benefit all children?

Early treatment does not necessarily benefit all children. Certain types of orthodontic problems can be more easily and efficiently corrected in the teen years when all the permanent teeth have all come in. Some skeletal orthodontic problems should not be addressed until growth is more advanced or has been completed. Dr. Whitlock develops a customized treatment plan based on each individual child’s needs.

Additionally, Whitlock Orthodontics is committed to the overall health and well being of all our patients. By receiving a complimentary consultation at our practice at an early age, we may be able to spot serious breathing issues like airway obstruction which can lead to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause many different health issues if left untreated:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic acid reflux
  • Obesity
  • Depression

While this condition is fairly easy to treat, it is often left untreated because parents aren’t aware of the warning signs. As a trained orthodontist, Dr. Whitlock is uniquely qualified to spot airway obstruction and can point you in the right direction for treatment.

  • If a child has treatment early, will this prevent the need for braces as an adolescent?

Early treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent additional problems from developing, and simplify future treatment, but oftentimes, additional treatment is still necessary. However, children who have undergone early orthodontic treatment typically wear braces or Invisalign for a shorter period of time in the teen years than those who have not undergone early intervention.

Click below to schedule a complimentary consultation at any one of our three locations: Springdale, Fayetteville or Fort Smith. We look forward to getting you the smile you’ve always wanted for your little one!