When is it time to start taking your child to the dentist? And what signs should prompt you to take them to see an orthodontist? We asked Dr Moira Wong, a highly accomplished orthodontist based in London.
When should children have their first dental check-up?
When they get their first tooth it is good for children to get used to having their teeth examined and being in the dental chair.
What are the most common orthodontic problems that children experience?
There are a range of problems that as a parent you should watch out for. The main thing to identify is any signs of malocclusions, or “bad bites”. The best way to demonstrate is with pictures, so here are some things to watch out for:
Warning: this image contains graphic content
You should also see an orthodontist if you notice:
- your child is losing their baby teeth too early or too late
- they have difficulty with chewing or biting
- they tend to breathe through their mouth
- their jaw makes sounds when it moves
- they bite their cheek or the roof of their mouth
- teeth grinding
- facial imbalance
- speech difficulties
Can children of any age have orthodontic work?
The first orthodontic check-up should take place at age seven or eight in order to diagnose and abnormalities that are going to develop in the adult dentition before they occur. One can then be proactive to correct these abnormalities at an early stage. For example, if we anticipate that crowding is going to be an issue then we can begin expansion to start creating space for the adult teeth.
What special measures do you take for nervous children?
Dr Carmen Colomar, our paediatric dentist, has a special program for nervous children. At the end of this program, which includes lots of reassurance and rewards, the patients find that the children look forward to seeing Carmen and bound in looking forward to looking at their teeth with her.