Welcome to the magic age of 7, where a child starts to gain independence, form opinions, asks questions, master basic skills, looks, talks, and acts older, and all the while still sees their parent as the shining light in the universe. The growth and development of a child during this transitional age is crucial for both their future physical and mental health. We know the many stresses of “proper parenting” can be extremely overwhelming as you raise your growing child but, we are here to take some of this stress away and inform you on what to expect in the mouth of your 7-year-old and the proper measures that need to be taken to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile for your child. Dr. Legler from Legler Orthodontics and Dr. Reza from Ardalan Pediatric Dentistry in Port St. Lucie have teamed up in part 1 of this series to touch on the importance of Age 7.
What Happens at Age 7?
“Hey everyone! Dr. Reza here from Ardalan Pediatric Dentistry. I wanted to take talk about one of my FAVORITE group of kids in the office… the 7-year old’s! There is a ton of action going on at this age and I wanted to go over a few things that you should expect to see and experience in the mouth of your 7- year old child.”
“To start, at Age 7, parents should expect their child’s mouth to be in the process of a transitional phase. This is the age where they start to lose their front teeth and new, rather large grownup teeth are coming in to replace them. Now, I know what you are thinking… there is NO WAY in the world that these big teeth are going to fit in the tiny mouth of my child, and you know something; sometimes and in many cases, you are absolutely correct. Although these very large teeth are coming into your child’s mouth, the width of these teeth never change and stay the same as they grow into adulthood. So, really big grown up teeth coming into a kid’s little mouth is not always the best combination. Age 7 is the perfect time to start evaluating your child’s dental growth and development.”
“In addition to the incisors (front teeth) coming in, patients are also typically getting their first permanent molars. I encourage parents to help with brushing to make sure that their child is able to get the toothbrush all the way in the back to take care of the permanent molars. I know, your child is this newly independent kid that can do everything on their own but, while we encourage kids to take an active role in their oral hygiene, they still need help from mom and dad. Let your kids brush their own teeth, just remember to go behind them and give it a little check to make sure they are doing a good job. As soon these molars are fully erupted, I also recommend placing dental sealants on their teeth. Dental sealants are a plastic coating that protects the chewing surfaces of the back teeth which are the most common areas for kids to get dental decay. Sealants are a great way to reduce the risk of getting cavities and help to give your child a healthy smile.”
“With the permanent incisors and molars growing to replace smaller baby teeth, Age 7 is a crucial time to visit a dentist that specializes in dealing with the irregularities and correction of teeth. Therefore, I encourage parents to take their child in for an orthodontic evaluation. Some children will benefit from early orthodontic intervention in order to help guide their teeth and maximize their growth.” Below, Dr. Legler explains the importance of bringing your child to Legler Orthodontics for a complimentary evaluation.
Thank you Dr. Reza for being a part of our Summer of 7 Series. To recap what Dr. Reza mentioned, Age 7 is an important age in dental development because permanent incisors and molars are erupting. When your child is evaluated at their first orthodontic evaluation, we can measure space requirements for unerupted teeth and how the bite fits together with the width and length of the jaws. These are all important determinants of whether your child is going to grow normally and have a good bite and nice looking smile, or there are going to be problems that need to be addressed at some point between the ages of 7 to 13.
On a positive note, if your child does require braces at Age 7, they are usually excited to get them. At Legler Orthodontics, we have colors for braces and have different designs for retainers. This makes it fun for our younger patients and they also tend to feel older and special. Another important benefit that you might not realize of Age 7 treatment is that it greatly improves your child’s self-esteem. Often times, kids are upset by the way their teeth look or the way their teeth protrude and are more susceptible to bullying and being picked on by their classmates. By correcting these imperfections and improving their smile, they gain self-esteem which can have a lasting effect on their personality.
Not all patients we see require treatment at Age 7. For these patients, we place them on our recall schedule and see them periodically to determine the best time to start their treatment. While they’re on recall, we enlist them in our Surf Bucks Surf Club program so they can feel free to participate in our monthly contests and play the awesome games that we have online.
Another important thing that I have grown to learn is that when patients start dental visits at a young age in a fun, comfortable environment, they make excellent Orthodontic patients and have less dental phobias or anxieties.
In conclusion, great teamwork is so important in the dental care of your child. Dr. Legler, Dr. Ardalan in Port St. Lucie, and Dr. Garcia in Vero Beach who you will meet in Part 2, are committed to providing the best dental care for your child. We all agree that a comfortable and even “fun” office, staff that are gentle and trustworthy, and knowledgeable and experienced doctors, leave your child with a perfect smile inside and out!
For more information check out our video below: