Big Advice BY AMY GREENBURG Here’s what you can do as a parent to help keep your kids’ teeth in top shape. Little Teeth,

See an orthodontist early You don’t have to wait for your child to need braces to book their first visit to the orthodontist. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child has their first orthodontic check-up no later than the age of seven. Even if they don’t need immediate treatment, an early visit to the orthodontist means that any problems can be identified early on, allowing for management at the appropriate time. “With children and early treatment, timing is everything,” says DR TASNEEM RANGWALA of Smilefocus. “Orthodontists are trained in the growth and development of the teeth and face, which means they know if early intervention is necessary and understand the perfect time to start ‘interceptive’ treatment.” Interceptive orthodontics involves minimal treatment at an early stage – even if the child still has a combination of baby and adult teeth – in order to prevent more complicated treatment down the road. What’s more, Dr Rangwala says that early orthodontic treatment can maximise a child’s growth potential to correct certain dental or skeletal issues, and create a better foundation for permanent teeth to erupt into.

Some of the most common reasons for early or interceptive orthodontic treatment include: • underbites – where the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw; • overjets – where the top teeth protrude out too much; • cross-bites – where a misalignment causes the upper teeth to fit inside of the lower teeth; • teeth crowding; • excessive spacing; • extra or missing teeth; and • habits such as thumb or finger sucking, or prolonged pacifier use. “Of course, all recommendations are customised to the needs of your child. Your orthodontist will assess whether treatment is required at that time or if it’s better to wait until the child is older,” says Dr Rangwala. Smilefocus #08-02/03 and #08-07/08 Camden Medical Centre, 1 Orchard Boulevard 6733 9882 |



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