What if my dentist has not referred my child to an orthodontist yet?

What if my dentist has not referred my child to an orthodontist yet?

Dentists and orthodontists usually have different perspectives.

General dentists look at the overall health of your child’s teeth and mouth. He or she examine how well your child is brushing/flossing and if there are any cavities.  And while the dentist looks at both the upper and lower teeth, they may not be focused on evaluating how your child’s teeth fit together.

Orthodontists are looking at the bit, meaning, the way the teeth match up together. A perfect smile not only includes straight teeth, but also how the upper and lower teeth match up when biting.  This is the orthodontist’s specialty. Even if the teeth appear straight, mismatched jaws can create long-term problems.


So what does this mean for your child?

The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends that a child see an orthodontic specialist by the age of 7. The best part is, you do not have to wait for a referral from your general dentist to seek the advice from an orthodontist. Even though your child will not have all of their permanent teeth, it is still a good idea to have an initial consultation with an orthodontist. Treatment at an early age, while the child is growing, can prevent the need for permanent teeth to be pulled at a later age.


Symptoms of poor tooth alignment to look for:

The truth is, parents know their children best. You will be the first to recognize if something is not quite right with your child’s teeth or jaws. Some things you may notice:

  • Front teeth don’t come together when back teeth are closed
  • Upper front teeth sit behind the bottom front teeth
  • Your child might grind their teeth while sleeping
  • Your child might complain about ear pain, but does not have an ear infection
  • Your child might have trouble chewing certain types of harder or tougher foods

The above list is not exhaustive of symptoms of poor teeth alignment, but it is meant to give you an idea of some things to be watching out for as your child grows from a toddler into a child, and even into the preteen years. Most orthodontists provide a free consultation and exam. You can find an orthodontist on the American Association of Orthodontics website, or we personally like referrals from friends and family.  So, check out social media and ask your friends who they’ve seen and ask why. Then do a little more research about the specialists they recommend.

To Learn more about the benefits of early evaluation for your child, click here.


Questions about your child’s orthodontic health?

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call our office at 636.391.1959.  The staff at Hough Orthodontics would be happy to answer general questions over the phone. But for more specific questions regarding your child’s need, we invite you to make an appointment for a complimentary smile assessment.