Although many people associate orthodontic treatment with adolescence, Coral Gables orthodontists Jorge C. Coro DMD, MS and Ivette Coro DMD, MS say that orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth or with the teeth while the primary or baby teeth are present.
Parents may incorrectly assume they must wait until a child has all of his or her permanent teeth. However, Drs. Coro and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommend that every child get a check-up with an orthodontist as early as age 7.
“I can’t emphasize how important it is for parents to understand the value of an orthodontic check-up,” says Dr. Jorge Coro. “By age 7, enough permanent teeth have erupted for an orthodontist to evaluate the bite – the manner in which teeth and jaws meet and work, and how that relationship affects a child’s ability to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontists can determine what, if anything, is awry.”
“A visit to the orthodontist can ease a parent’s mind, too,” notes Dr. Ivette Coro. “Our recommendation may simply be ‘let’s wait and see’ while the face and jaws continue to grow.”
Drs. Coro note that protrusive front teeth can be prone to injury. Also, some of the more readily apparent conditions that indicate the need for an examination include:
• Early or late loss of baby teeth
• Difficulty in chewing or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Finger habits
• Crowding, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
• Jaws that shift or make sounds
• Speech difficulties
• Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
• Teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all
• Facial imbalance
• Jaws that are too far forward or back
• Grinding or clenching of the teeth
Drs. Coro are members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), which has 18,000 members in the United States, Canada and abroad. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists who correct improperly aligned teeth and jaws (“bad bites”). They receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those with this formal education may call themselves orthodontists, and only orthodontists are eligible for membership in the AAO. You can visit the AAO website at www.mylifemysmile.org.