When should a child first see an orthodontist for a check-up?

A child should visit an orthodontist for an examination at the ages of 6 and 7 when the permanent teeth start to erupt. At these ages, the first symptoms of orthodontic problems may appear.

Why is early examination important?

Orthodontic examination performed at an early age can help prevent future problems, as well as determine the timing of treatment.

At what age does the orthodontic treatment start?

Orthodontic treatments usually start between the ages of 9 and 12 when the milk teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth. In some cases, early orthodontic applications may facilitate future treatment or eliminate the need for treatment altogether. These cases are:


Severe crowding;

In cases where jaws are too small for all permanent teeth to fit, the jaws can be enlarged using removable appliances (mouthguards), or tooth extraction can be performed. This intervention shortens the duration of possible future orthodontic treatment.

Severe anterior cross bite;

When the upper front teeth fit inside of the lower front teeth, this can be corrected with mouthguards or extra-oral appliances depending on the actual cause of the problem.

Lower teeth fitting inside of upper teeth;

This situation may cause fractures in the upper teeth. It can be treated with mouthguards.

Treatment of bad habits;

Finger sucking: the child is generally expected to abandon this habit between the ages of 2 and 4. If not, the upper front teeth may overlap the lower front teeth, and deformities in the palate may occur because of the pressure created by finger sucking.

Tongue thrust;

It is the pressing forward of the tongue between the teeth while swallowing. The teeth are pressed forward because of the pressure created by the tongue.

Mouth breathing;

It can cause abnormal growth of the upper and lower jaws.

Do removable dental appliances hurt?

No, they do not. The mouth adapts to it as if it is a part of the palate in just a couple of days.

What should be done if the mouthguard is broken or lost?

The orthodontist should be contacted without delay.  A new appliance should be immediately made in order to preserve the progress.  Otherwise, the jaws may revert to their original positions.

For how long is the orthodontic appliance (mouthguard) used?

Generally, the desired correction is achieved in 6 to 8 months with the regular use of such appliances. In order to preserve the achieved correction, the patients should wear the appliance at night for 6 months.

Can the appliance be used while eating?

Unless the dentist recommends a different use, these kinds of appliances are continuously used except for while eating and brushing the teeth.

Where should the mouthguard be kept after being removed?

After taking them out of the mouth, the appliances should be preserved in the box given by the dentist. Never wrap it in a paper tissue.  If wrapped in paper tissue, it may be mistaken for garbage and thrown out.

Where should the mouthguard be kept after being removed?

After taking them out of the mouth, the appliances should be preserved in the box given by the dentist. Never wrap it in a paper tissue.  If wrapped in paper tissue, it may be mistaken for garbage and thrown out.

How should the appliance be cleaned?

The appliance should be cleaned with water and toothbrush. There is no need to use toothpaste or soap.

Author of the Article: Çağrı Gazioğlu Özle

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