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Why Should My 7 Year Old See an Orthodontist?

Dr. Larrabee and the American Association of Orthodontics recommend that children receive their initial evaluation from an orthodontist by the age of seven. A lot of parents, referred by their general dentist or pediatrician for a complimentary consultation, are concerned that “seven is too young to be thinking about braces?”.  By the age of seven, most children have begun to lose their primary teeth, and their adult teeth are making their way in. At this point, most orthodontic problems can be identified; sometimes it is what you CAN’T see that can be the problem…

By taking our state of the art 3D scan on all of our patients at their complimentary consultation, Dr. Larrabee can really see everything, allowing him to evaluate how the bones and teeth are forming and developing. More often than not, these issues can be monitored until the child is older, while some require interceptive treatment.

smiling girl with braces eating watermelonWhat is interceptive treatment?

Interceptive treatment is also known as phase 1 of a 2 phase orthodontic treatment plan. The goal of interceptive treatment is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic problem to reduce or eliminate it. Some of these dental issues include a crossbite, narrow palate, overbite/underbite, or oral habits such as thumb sucking.  Interceptive treatment takes advantage of the young, developing jaw bones and growth. The second phase of treatment is usually completed 1-3 years later when most or all of the adult teeth have erupted. Between phase 1 and phase 2 treatment, Dr. Larrabee will monitor your child’s dental development at periodic visits with updated pictures or 3D x-ray images and measurements in our Kids’ Club program.

What are some of the specific dental issues that may require treatment?

An anterior or front crossbite occurs when the upper teeth are behind the lower teeth; upper teeth should fit over the lower teeth. When this happens, the tooth enamel can wear down, and in some cases chipping or breaking of a tooth may occur. It is important to address an anterior crossbite(s) early to help minimize the need for extensive dental work such as root canals, crowns, or build ups in the future.

Similarly, a posterior or back crossbite occurs when the upper back teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth. This is often the result of a narrow upper jaw. Dr. Larrabee prefers to use our high-tech bracket system to get the expansion, or widening of the upper jaw needed to correct the crossbite and avoid appliances, such as a palatal expander.

Some children have oral habits such as thumb sucking or a tongue thrust that can cause the front teeth to excessively flare creating little or no overlap between the upper and lower front teeth. This is known as an open bite. When the front teeth are angled or flared out, this puts the patient at risk for trauma. One good hit with a soccer ball, or slip at the pool can cause permanent damage to those flared front teeth.

What if my child doesn’t require treatment?

After a child visits Dr. Larrabee for their initial consultation, he will either recommend treatment, or they will join our Kids’ Club. As a member of our Kids’ Club, you will receive complimentary checkups throughout your child’s development. We will continue to take updated pictures and 3D x-ray images, new measurements and work with parents to determine the perfect time to begin orthodontic treatment. Your child will have the opportunity to collect Larrabee Loot points at each visit for being on time for their appointment, great oral hygiene, and wearing their Advanced Orthodontics t-shirt, among other cool things!

little funny girl with space width looking in to the cameraOh No! I didn’t know to have my child evaluated by age 7! Is it too late?

If you have waited a little longer to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist, don’t sweat it. While Dr. Larrabee and the American Association of Orthodontics do recommend that a child be evaluated by an orthodontist by the age of 7, dental issues can be addressed at nearly any age. Having your child evaluated by Dr. Larrabee can only help you get a better idea of what lies ahead. Consultations are always offered with no charge to you or any insurance you hold and there is no need for a referral from your general dentist.

When your family comes to our office for your initial evaluation, you’ll be introduced to Dr. Larrabee and our energetic team, take a tour of our award winning office, and should treatment be recommended, we’re happy to discuss treatment options and affordable payment plans. We pride ourselves on creating a professional and upbeat office so all of our patients, adults and children feel comfortable. Our candy wall, warm cookies after each visit, in office game center and Larrabee Loot prize cabinet make coming to each appointment an enjoyable experience.

If you’re in the Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, or even Queen Creek areas and think your child needs or would benefit from an evaluation by Dr. Larrabee, call our office today. Our Advanced Orthodontics families drive from all over the East Valley to see Dr. Larrabee, as he was voted “Best Orthodontist” in AZ Foothills Magazine several years in a row, and awarded “Top Doc” by his colleagues.

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