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Orthodontic Screening

Most people aren’t born with perfect teeth, so dentists and orthodontists prescribe orthodontic treatment to fix various tooth and jaw problems. During an orthodontic screening at Petite Smiles, Dr. Heba Rashed might tenderly point out if your child’s teeth appear misaligned or crowded. 

Misaligned teeth and jaws aren’t idyllic for healthy growth and development. Therefore, early orthodontic screenings can prepare you and your family for corrective orthodontic treatment down the road.

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young girl smiling in Lorton, VA pediatric dental office after receiving dental crowns

When should you schedule your child’s first orthodontic screening?

Although many people picture teens in braces, the American Academy of Orthodontics suggests orthodontic screenings by the time a child is 7. At this elementary school age, kids have an assortment of primary and permanent teeth, and the face and jaws are still growing.

Elementary school age is the prime time for dental professionals to evaluate and align teeth. If an issue is starting to arise or already exists, your orthodontist can nip it in the bud before the problem worsens.

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Classic Signs That Your Child Would Benefit from Orthodontics

Before referring your kid, tween, or teen to an orthodontist, Dr. Rashed will keep a close eye out for the following tell-tale signs that can be corrected with orthodontic treatment:

  • Excessive spacing
  • Crowding
  • Abnormal tooth eruption
  • Bite issues (like open bite, overbite, crossbite, underbite, and overjet)
  • Early, late, or irregular tooth loss or eruption
  • Disproportionate jaws or teeth

Orthodontic Screenings and Treatment Based on Age

Many parents wonder, “what’s the best age to screen and start orthodontic treatment?” The answer to this question might be younger than you think. When your child is a toddler, Dr. Rashed can begin looking for the beginning signs of “bad bites.”

Overall, there are three “stages” of orthodontic screenings based on your child’s development and age:

Petite Smiles Boutique Pediatric Dentistry exam area

Stage I Orthodontics: Early Screening and Intervention

Early orthodontic screening can start between the ages of 2 and 6. When examining your young child’s smile, Dr. Rashed looks for signs of premature tooth loss and underdeveloped arches. Plus, she asks about thumb and finger-sucking and nail-biting habits. Treatment and intervention at this stage are often successful (and minimally invasive) because the teeth and jaws are still developing.

Stage II Orthodontics: Transitional Dentition

Between 6 and 12 years of age, we start to see baby teeth molt, adult teeth erupt, and 6-year molars pop up. We look for signs of dental alignment issues and jaw malocclusion during this stage. Starting orthodontic treatment during this stage is ideal because the soft and hard tissues needed for successful tooth movement are still malleable and exceptionally responsive to pin-pointed orthodontic pressures.

Stage III Orthodontics: Adolescent Dentition

When your teen’s permanent teeth are settled into their final alignment and bite, orthodontic treatment is slightly more complex (yet not impossible).

Orthodontic Screening in Lorton, VA

If necessary, Dr. Rashed can refer your child to a Lorton area orthodontist to receive the early orthodontic intervention they need. Schedule an orthodontic screening at Petite Smiles so that  you can set your child up for life-long smile success. (703)-688-2155 or message us online.

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