At our Jacksonville, AR orthodontic practice, we take special care when it comes to treating our younger patients. Although some people may be unaware, it's recommended by the American Association of Orthodontics that children receive a thorough orthodontic examination at around seven years old. During this time, children are still in their earlier stages of jaw and tooth development, which can make it much easier to address issues relating to the alignment of the teeth and jawbones. If these concerns go untreated until your child is in their teens or adulthood, they can be much more difficult to improve. To ensure that your child's teeth and jawbones are developing properly, or to have any underlying concerns detected, contact Ashcraft Orthodontics Jacksonville and schedule a consultation with board-certified orthodontist Dr. Michael Ashcraft.
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Any child aged seven or over could be a candidate for early orthodontic treatment. It's usually around this age that the first permanent teeth begin to emerge. Typically, we use the placement of the final molars as a reference to determine whether or not the rest of the permanent teeth will have enough room within the mouth to grow in neatly. Dr. Ashcraft can evaluate the positioning of your child's permanent molars to ascertain if any intervention will be needed.
Certain habits, including mouth breathing and thumb-sucking, can also affect the alignment of the teeth and jaw, creating what's called an "open bite." This is characterized by an abnormal growth of the upper and lower jawbones, which prevent the front teeth from completely coming together. Additionally, your child could benefit from orthodontic care if they are exhibiting any of the following issues:
- A crossbite
- An overbite
- An underbite
- Protruding teeth
Addressing these concerns while your child's teeth and jawbones are still in development can tremendously improve their oral health and prevent them from needing more extensive treatments in the future.
What to Expect
For your child's initial appointment, one of our orthodontic assistants will take digital x-rays and impressions of their mouth to assess the alignment of their teeth and jawbones. Dr. Ashcraft will also evaluate your child's mouth, profile, and temporomandibular joints to determine if any abnormalities are present, such as a crossbite or an underbite. If an issue does exist, Ashcraft Orthodontics Jacksonville features a range of options to improve your child's condition. Possible early ortho treatments can include dental appliances, such as palatal expanders and space maintainers, to help create more room in the mouth for permanent teeth before they emerge from the gums and into their ideal locations. In some cases, baby teeth may need to be extracted to give permanent teeth enough space to erupt. If no issues are detected during your child's initial visit, we recommend attending yearly checkups so Dr. Ashcraft can continue to monitor their teeth and jawbones.
If it was decided that your child should receive early orthodontic treatment, they may be required to attend monthly follow-up appointments. This is so Dr. Ashcraft can monitor their progress and make adjustments to their appliances as needed. It's also important to continue to schedule bi-annual checkups with a general dentist to ensure that the health of your child's teeth is taken care of as well. We know that brushing and flossing while undergoing orthodontic treatment can be difficult, even for adults, so one of our skilled team members will show you and your child tips and tricks to use that will help to maintain a healthy, bright smile. We can also recommend certain products to control plaque buildup around ortho hardware, such as brackets and wires.
To help make your family's orthodontic care more affordable, Ashcraft Orthodontics Jacksonville is pleased to work with a large number of dental insurance carriers. We will contact your insurance provider to ascertain your coverage for treatments and file claims on your behalf. For any costs that your insurance does not cover, we accept a range of payment options, including low-interest medical financing through trusted companies, such as CareCredit.
Oral Health Starts Now
When it comes to orthodontic care, it's important to stay ahead of the curve. If your child is around seven years or older, schedule their first appointment with board-certified orthodontist Dr. Michael Ashcraft. He and the rest of our Jacksonville, AR team will evaluate the quality of your child's teeth and jaw. From there, we will be able to determine if your child requires treatment to prevent more significant issues from occurring later on.