Your child should see an orthodontist whenever you or your child’s dentist suspect problems that only an orthodontist can solve. An orthodontist may recommend different treatments that may include braces, dental appliances, or oral surgery. The time it takes to correct orthodontic problems will depend upon the individual circumstances, but the sooner the problem is recognized and handled, the better off your child will be.

Does My Dentist Need To Refer Me To An Orthodontist?

Whether or not you need your dentist to refer your child to an orthodontist often relies on your insurance plan. Sometimes insurance companies require a referral before they’ll cover orthodontic treatment. Other times, not. You should contact your insurance company rep to find out their policy. A quick phone call will tell you if the orthodontist requires a referral.

How Can I Tell If My Child Might Need Braces?

While your dentist is the professional most likely first to notice the potential need for braces, there are some things that you as a parent can look out for, too. These include:

  • Overbite or underbite, most evident in the silhouette
  • Chronically irritated or cracked upper or lower lip, from where teeth are constantly resting on them
  • Chronic mouth breathing, indicating difficulty in the closing mouth all the way
  • Teeth that look conspicuously ill-fitted to the rest of the face
  • Slow speech development or speech impediments
  • Crowded or misplaced teeth
  • Noisy jaw or clicking noises from jaw

What Will Happen During Our First Visit? Will My Child Need Treatment?

The first visit to an orthodontist will be very much like a visit to your child’s dentist. The orthodontist will ask what concerns you have and then examine your child’s mouth. If you have a dentist’s referral, the orthodontist will review those documents and may make a request to see your child’s dentist’s x-rays. Your child won’t receive any treatment on their first visit to the orthodontist. However, you may receive a written recommendation for treatment, information about your various options, as well as a general breakdown of possible costs.

Why Does My Child Need To See An Orthodontist?

Dentists can perform many different treatments that are both preventative and treatment-oriented. These include things like sealants, teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, dental bonding, and more. However, when teeth are not aligned properly, your child needs to see an orthodontist. Realigning teeth is a highly specialized field of study, and only an orthodontist has the skills, resources, and experience necessary to successfully treat all the issues that surround teeth being out of place. An orthodontist offers treatment for teeth overcrowding, overbites, underbites, and much more.

Should We Wait To See The Orthodontist Until My Child Has All Of His/Her Permanent Teeth?

One of the widely held myths about orthodontic treatment is that it should begin only after a child has their permanent teeth. The prevailing belief is that a child with baby teeth that are crooked or misaligned may “grow out of it” or that their permanent teeth will grow in just fine. Unfortunately, many serious issues could have been avoided if parents had brought their child to the orthodontist earlier. Often, treatment is easier, takes less time, and is less costly when it is addressed early on. Parents should bring in their child to consult with an orthodontist at the earliest sign that something may be amiss. The orthodontist will be able to advise about when treatment should begin. In some cases, treatment should start immediately; in other cases, it’s best to wait. It all depends on the individual circumstances, but only a trained orthodontist can make that judgment call.

How Will Orthodontic Treatment Help My Child?

When needed, orthodontic treatment will give your child many benefits. Depending upon what issues were caused by dental problems, orthodontic treatment may:

  • Realign/straighten crooked teeth
  • Realign bite to normal ranges
  • Enable better eating, drinking, and chewing abilities
  • Enhance speech abilities
  • Instill more self-confidence
  • Prevent the premature loss of permanent teeth
  • Repair jaw pain and other jaw issues
  • Enhance dental hygiene
  • Instill lifelong desire for optimal oral health

Orthodontic treatment is well worth the time, effort, and cost for a variety of reasons. If you or your dentist suspect that your child may need orthodontic treatment, don’t delay. The earlier you consult with an orthodontist, the sooner you can get started learning exactly what your child needs for a better and more healthy smile.

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