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When is the right time?

When is the right time to take my child to an orthodontist?

There are a range of problems that cause people to seek orthodontic treatment from too many or too few teeth, crooked or overcrowded teeth and an under or over bite.
 
Given the range of potential issues, is there an optimum time to seek advice from an Orthodontist? 
 

What does an Orthodontist do?

Orthodontists specialise in the area of dentistry that focuses on improving the function, stability and appearance of the teeth and jaw. They create fantastic smiles – and ensure a correct and healthy bite. 
 

Is there a ‘right’ time to see an Orthodontist?

There are a range of reasons why you might consider taking your child to see an Orthodontist. It may be that your child has an hereditary issue such as having too many or too few teeth, overcrowding or too much space between teeth or an under or over bite.
 
Other reasons you may want to consult an Orthodontist are acquired problems such as accidents, thumb or finger sucking or poor early oral health resulting in early loss of baby or adult teeth.
 
The best time to seek advice is as soon as you (or an oral health provider) detect a problem or possible problem. This is most often around 7 or 8 years old or when the adult teeth start coming through. Your Orthodontist will assess your child and discuss with you the best treatment process. It may be that treatment should be delayed – the Orthodontist will guide you as to the likely timeframe and will offer check-ups. Some children with a range of issues may require early treatment, have a break and then restart treatment once more adult teeth are through or the jaw has grown more. An early assessment enables treatment to start at the optimum time for that child. 
 
Even if it looks as if other of your children has the same issue, it is crucial that each child is assessed individually. 
 

What action should you take?

You do not need a referral to see an Orthodontist so you can make your own choice. It is important that your child is comfortable with their Orthodontist and that you feel your concerns are addressed. Thankfully days of being afraid of the dental chair are long gone and orthodontists now provide a welcoming and comfortable environment. 
 
The initial appointment will involve a full examination including x-rays and photographs followed by a full discussion. They will also give you an estimate of the cost and likely duration of the treatment if any is required at that stage. If you are not comfortable with that person or the course of treatment offered, you should seek a second or even third opinion. 
 
Ask around friends and acquaintances for a recommendation or visit www.orthodontists.org.nz to find an Orthodontist who is a member of the NZAO (New Zealand Association of Orthodontists). Member of this professional organisation must have a recognised degree or qualification, the higher qualification in Orthodontics, at least two years’ experience in general dentistry and in orthodontics. They also undergo regular professional development.
 
Lumino offer two orthodontist specialist practices who use advanced digital technology , including cone-beam (3D) imaging, to assess treatment needs and monitor treatment progress. Click here to find out more