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How can I Prepare my Child to Visit the Orthodontist?

Article Details
  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Your child’s first visit to the orthodontist may occur early, between the ages of two and three, or may wait until adolescence. Though the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child visit the orthodontist by the age of seven, your family dentist may recommend an orthodontic visit based on any number of factors and at any time. Typically, when a child visits the orthodontist, it is to examine any problem with the normal growth and development of the teeth, jaws, and gums. In some cases, orthodontic intervention may be necessary to correct deformities that might affect speech or present a medical issue, but most often, orthodontic treatment involves cosmetic issues.

While it is natural to want your child to have a beautiful smile, the focus of dental and orthodontic care should always be on healthy teeth and gums, not on appearances. If your child is seeing an orthodontist for the first time because of crowded or crooked teeth, do not put much emphasis on his or her appearance. Straightening out crooked teeth caused by overcrowding or other issues takes time, and some corrective measures cannot be taken until the child reaches a certain age. Therefore, your child is going to have to live with his or her teeth as they are for some time and does not need added reason to feel self-conscious.

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If your child is referred to an orthodontist by a dentist, ask your dentist to explain to your child what the orthodontist will be looking for and how they will proceed. As well-meaning as parents are when they offer explanations to their children, sometimes hearing them from an impartial party helps the child reach a quicker understanding. After explaining to your child what the orthodontist is, what they check for, and why your child might need a specialist, your child should feel more secure about the visit. If your child is old enough to ask other questions pertaining to the visit, answer them as best you can and be sure to reassure your child, even if he or she is older, that you will be there and that together you’ll ask the orthodontist all the questions your child wants.

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