When to see an orthodontist

When is the right time to see an orthodontist?

It’s time to consult an orthodontist whenever you have concerns regarding the alignment of your teeth or the quality of your bite. Sometimes, these issues are glaringly apparent. You might experience difficulty biting, chewing, or speaking, or you may notice certain teeth protruding, overcrowded, or out of place. Misaligned teeth can lead to facial imbalances, resulting in certain facial features being out of proportion with others. If you find yourself in any of these situations, you should schedule a free consultation with our Leawood orthodontic office. Orthodontists have the specialized skills and training necessary to diagnose and address these problems.

There are sometimes situations where the need for orthodontic treatment isn’t as apparent. Other signs treatment may be needed include:

  • Mouth breathing

  • Teeth clenching or grinding

  • An inability to comfortably close your lips

  • Frequent shifting of jaw position

  • Clicking or popping noises in the jaw

  • Frequent unintentional biting of your cheek or the roof of your mouth

Kids’ orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that a child should have an orthodontic examination by age 7. This early evaluation is important for two reasons. Firstly, there can be a wide disparity in tooth development at this age. Your kid’s orthodontist will be able to examine their mouth to determine if they’re experiencing normal developmental variations or potential orthodontic issues. Secondly, many conditions are more easily treatable when detected early during a child’s period of rapid growth. For example, a palatal expander appliance can effectively correct a crossbite in a young child, taking advantage of their jaw’s ongoing growth. Without early treatment, correcting such a condition might necessitate oral surgery in the future.

In childhood, other common problems that may benefit from orthodontic treatment include:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth

  • Persistent thumb-sucking

  • Persistent tongue thrusting

  • Persistent mouth breathing

If you observe any of these symptoms in your child, you should schedule a free consultation at our office. It’s important to note that early examination does not necessarily mean that treatment must begin immediately. Most children don’t start active orthodontic treatment until they’re 9 – 14 years old.

Adult orthodontics

As an adult, you might be wondering when the right time is for you to seek orthodontic care. If you find yourself unhappy with the way your smile looks, the best time to consult an orthodontist is right now! According to the AAO, approximately one in four orthodontic patients today is an adult. Orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age. Additionally, it’s becoming harder to tell when someone is undergoing orthodontic treatment with the growing availability of discreet options such as:

  • Clear aligners (like the Invisalign® system)
  • Clear braces
  • Lingual braces (behind-the-teeth braces)

Beyond aesthetics, properly aligned teeth are easier to maintain and less prone to abnormal wear. A well-aligned bite enhances your ability to eat and speak without difficulties, contributing to the long-term health of your teeth. Healthy teeth can last a lifetime, so there’s no reason to delay seeking orthodontic treatment.