Tag Archives: Italy

Dominique Coindre: Working Mom Stories

Dominique Coindre, a French Canadian with many degrees, chose to change careers so she could start a family by adopting her beautiful daughter. She wanted to explore the world and travel, giving her now 10-year-old daughter opportunities she could cherish. Being a translator and a single mom has given her the bases to pursue this dream of travel.  At times, it can be tough being a single mom in a new country, but she takes this with determination and passion. She continues to show her daughter that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. Dominique’s story is an inspiration to many single moms out there who are trying to live their dream of building a life in Italy.

At the age of 44, Dominique became a single mom when she adopted her “snow girl”, from Kazakhstan, in 2009. Her life with her daughter is made of the usual child raising difficulties, as for all mothers out there, but “Seeing her smile, seeing her becoming her own person, how she is starting to think on her own with the right values, makes me proud of her, and what I have accomplished so far with her.” Dominique had always envisioned “”to share” the world with her daughter, and living in Italy became of the plan”. They arrived in Italy, with their two cats and entire household, two years ago, when her daughter was 8 years old.

Dominique states, “It is not easy to be a single mom, because the burden lies on just one pair of shoulders, being in Italy does not change that reality”.  She has no break from parenting and no network to help in raising her child, as many others have with parents and close family members.  “Between work and being a mother, there is not much space for being a woman. I sometimes long to have more time to nurture old interests and develop new ones, but at the same time, I know this is our only time together and is short-lived. Soon enough, perhaps even too soon, she will go off on her own path”.  It is a constant struggle to balance being a single mom, but there is a positive aspect: nothing gets in the way of Dominique’s own version of how to raise her daughter.

When Dominique moved here, she did not have the Italian husband or family to help with settling into life here. She recounts, “I was psychologically prepared for the bureaucratic hurdles, but still found it all very daunting. The language barrier, of course, did not help, though I had some proficiency with Italian prior to moving. Simple things such as transferring the phone line, water supply, electricity, gas, to my name, getting the Internet, became protracted exercises in patience (and in  frustration…)”  The astounding amount of paperwork to get permission for her and her daughter to stay in Italy was confounding.  She recalls, “It was very tiring, if not exhausting” and this tortuous bureaucracy might well be a major factor in her future decision on whether to stay or leave Italy.

However, because of the Italians’ love of children, Dominique and her daughter found it relatively easy to adapt to the way of life here in Italy. Her daughter goes to the International School of Florence, where her main schooling is in English, and learns Italian as a second language. However, the school does not really provide for a social network, and not being able to rely on one certainly would make it harder to adapt. She says this is because of the fact she works from home and lives outside of Florence and therefore it restricts their ability to make closer friends. However, this is well satisfied, by the pleasures of living in the Tuscan hills, among the olive trees, and enjoying that oh so priceless cool breeze in the summer!  No matter what, both mother and daughter are so very happy to discover the country and to learn about the “Italian way of life”.  “That is why we do these things: to learn other ways, see how other people live and think, and this way we broaden our experience and understanding of the world we live in.”

In order to succeed in being a single mom and provide an income, Dominique changed her career from tax lawyer to translator, this way gaining flexibility with her working hours for raising her daughter. She acquired a University degree in translation and slowly started to build her practice. She was fully self-employed by the time she adopted her daughter. “I am bilingual in French and English. I had always done some translation work at various work places, so it sort of fell into place. I started with technical and creative writing, and then naturally moved to translating, which proved to be the more practical way of earning a decent living. This is what I did, and still do, which allows me to have the lifestyle I want (that is, working from anywhere in the world).”

Dominique’s practice, which is still in Canada, is her main source of income while living here in Italy. She first got her clients through networking. “I leverage my previous training and experience, that is being a tax lawyer, and therefore specialize in financial, legal, tax, etc. translation. I research the market, finding potential clients both in Canada and internationally, by sending my CV, sometimes having an introduction, most of the times not. There is fortunately a lot of work out there for good translators. Especially in Canada, where French and English are both official languages.” In the near future, Dominique plans to develop her European clientele, enabling her to earn Euros instead of Canadian dollars.  This would help sustain the cost of living here. “I am not sure if it is the living in Italy as much as the living in Tuscany/Florence which makes it harder, financially. It might be easier in other parts of Italy, where the cost of living is not so high.”

Because of Dominique’s schedule being flexible, she is able to participate more in her daughter’s life. She is able to go to school meetings, pick her up and drop her off at school, go to afterschool events, medical visits etc. In order to do so, she has to work longer hours at night, which does limit the time she can interact with other adults.  Because of the conversion from Canadian dollars to Euros, she has to work harder and longer hours to obtain the financial support needed to stay in Italy.  At times, this has “led to overworking, lack of sleep and having very little time to devote to my daughter.  Achieving the opposite effect of my desired outcome. It is at those times that I reconsider this whole decision of self-employment: getting a “regular” job, with stable hours, medical insurance and a retirement fund would have its pluses!”

I asked if she plans to stay here in Italy. She responded, “I don’t think we will stay here for as long as I had initially thought. I wanted to stay here for the rest of my daughter’s primary and secondary schooling but I do not think this will happen. We are going to stay one more year for sure, until she gets to middle school. Then, we shall see. I do like it here, and consider ourselves very lucky indeed to be here. I am not prepared to leave yet. Work opportunities will likely dictate our next move, but I am not there yet. I am not done with Italy. Will I ever leave? Is one really ever ready to leave?”

Homemade Sour Cream

Sour Cream used a lot in many American foods can be hard to find here in Italy.  The Italian name is Panna Acida. I have found it in the COOP grocery store in Firenze, but recently they changed the brand and I really do not like the texture and taste. So now, I have decided to try to make it. I make my own sourdough starter, so this should not be hard.  Right? It is not hard at all just follow the recipe below. Soon you too will have Sour Cream to use in your favorite recipes.

Now many recipes will call for buttermilk and heavy cream. This seems to be the ingredients used for Crème Fraiche.  That is not what I am trying to make here. You can do the same technique with my recipe, adding 1 cup buttermilk to 2 cups cream, and get Crème Fraiche if that is what you are looking to make.

It is simple get a liter size sterile mason jar. The jars need to be sterile because you only want to grow the bacteria needed for making sour cream.  You can sterilize it in your dishwasher hot cycle or boil water and put the jar and lid in the boiling water for 10 minutes.  Look at this video if you are going to use the boil water method.

Video for sterilizing jars

Next, get your ingredients:

  • Sour cream from store (if you cannot find sour cream then lemon for juicing)
  • Whipping Cream in the refrigerated section (panna fresca) ** do not get anything with UHT it will not work.

That is it. Take 2 cups whipping Cream in to the jar, and then add 4 tsp of lemon juice or 1/2 cup of sour cream.  Stir the mixture well and cover with paper towel or cheesecloth secure with rubber band. Place on your counter and let it sit for 24 hours. This time changes if the temperature in the house is too cold or too hot.

You can check on it and give it a stir.  You will see that it will start to thicken.  I also give it a taste and see how sour it tastes. If you want it, sourer you can add a little more lemon.  You can even add a little Total Brand full fat Greek yogurt, which is, what I did and it gave me the right taste I was looking to get.  When you decide it is the texture and taste you like just place in the refrigerator and use.  It lasts 2 weeks.

ENJOY!!!

From Vancouver, Canada to Florence, Italy

View More: http://nataliareardonphotography.pass.us/elenaphotos

Gina Mazza currently lives in Florence with her beautiful 7 month old daughter and her husband Alessio. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Gina wanted to share with us the story of her coming here and how she overcame some of the cultural differences she encountered when settling in.

Read more her story…...From Vancouver, Canada to Florence, Italy

By Ela Vasilescu – Writer/Journalist

 

****This is one of the many stories from our Expat Stories Series  If you are interested in sharing your story fill out the form on this post.  We Would Like to Read Your Expat Story

 

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Florence Flood

81bb47f3-da61-42bd-ad7b-10fdabf7bb4fAnnouncing Special Event:  November 4, 8:00 p.m. – Candlelight Procession Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Florence Flood!  This historic candlelight procession on Friday, November 4 will commemorate the Mud Angels – the young volunteers, many of whom were Americans – who flocked to Florence to help save the city’s precious artworks in the wake of the Flood of 1966.  The city of Florence wants to engage as many members of the local community as possible (students, too!) in the candlelight procession.  Please come out and join us for this extraordinary anniversary event!

8:00 p.m.             Meet at the Church of San Minato a Monte (near Piazzale Michelangelo) – candles will be distributed to participants
8:30 p.m.             Candlelight procession on foot, walking through the city
9:30 p.m.             Arrive at Piazza Santa Croce

*For those in need of public transport to Piazza San Miniato:  Take the ATAF Bus # 12 from Porta Romana or the Bus # 13 from Lungarno Pecori Giraldi.

For more information:  http://toscana.firenze2016.it/dal-fango-gli-angeli-nella-luce-del-futuro/

 

What’s in a Name

in a nameWell everything! Especially if you are planning to get married and move to Italy.  Even more so, if you want to take your husband’s name and then get Italian Citizenship.  In Italy, it is the legal practice to keep your maiden name when you get married. You will have the hardest of times if you try to take your husband’s name and get the documents needed like Italian Social Security Card, Health Care Card, Driver’s License and even your Permission to Stay.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense as to why not to take your husbands last name and to keep that birth last name.  One big fact is the governmental offices will not accept documents when there are two different names on them.  In addition, God forbid if you got a divorce. You would have many issue of turning back all those documents. (That is to say, you got them all in your married name in the first place) If you had used your maiden name to start with, you would just need the papers everything else would stay the same.

It seems that more and more in the USA are starting to keep their birth name and skip that old tradition there of changing to their husbands name in marriage.  So best if you are planning to move and even more if you plan to stay forever in Italy, Do Not Take Your Husband’s Name.

OMG I cracked a tooth a day before vacation

All fixed

All fixed

This is not what you want to have happen, especially one day before going on vacation. You are all packed and ready to leave the next morning. You got up out of bed, hit your chin and wham, you knocked your front tooth in half. Of course this was a tooth that you already cracked off when you were 12 years old by a softball. After all these years it falls out with a slight hit of the chin.  Anyway, you need to find someone fast and reliable.

This is what happened to me, so I called up the dentist that I had to quickly find when my back molar cracked and had a big hole in the base of my tooth. That tooth had to be completely extracted.  I had so many worries because I have special issues being immunosuppressed with my medicines I take for my autoimmune disease.  So I needed a doctor close to home, spoke English (not a need but really helps in an emergency situation), and knew about people with my health condition.

I asked in the Firenze Moms 4 Moms Expat Mom’s Club where I could find such a dentist.  I was lucky to have found the right person.  He not only extracted my molar when that cracked, but he also was available at a quick notice with my broken tooth a day before my vacation.

He is a husband of a mom in the group, but a great guy that does dental work on children as well as adults. He is very professional, obviously knowledgeable of the new dental procedures, along with knowing about dental issues in people with autoimmune disease.  Many thanks goes to Dr. Niccolò Trentanove for being there to help me out with my many dental emergencies, that seem to happen at odd times, out of nowhere.

His office is very easy to get too and located just outside the main center.  He provides the following services: repair dentures, orthodontics, dental root canal treatment, oral hygiene treatment, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, implant dentistry, extraction surgery, implant surgery and teeth whitening.

His contact information is:

Dr. Niccolò Trentanove
Via Senese 12 – 50124 Firenze (FI)
tel: 055 2298271
partita iva: 02282030481

Obstetrician Doctors Here and Weight Gain

weight

So why is it that the Obstetrician doctors here have big issues with weight gain during pregnancy for expat moms?  I am not talking weight gain above the standards of other countries. Here you can find an example of what doctors follow in the US for standards of weight gain during pregnancy. click here  In Firenze, I am finding many expat mothers (myself included) built with a broad structure, because of our genetics, are being treated on a weight scale as some small Italian women.  I am not trying to be stereotypical or racist, but genetics in different cultures do create different size women.  The standards for them are going to be different then an average Italian woman.  I see it already in the cloth sizes, where I have to get many of my clothes from the UK because the sizes here are disproportionately small and short.

I had a healthy pregnancy with my first child. I gained a good amount of weight (40 lbs. (20kg) by the end of my pregnancy) most water and baby (my boy was 10.4lbs (5kgs)) when born. This was 2 weeks after due date.  A very big baby but not because I was gaining weight. My sugar levels were fine with my first and no problems at all during pregnancy.  Now my second, conceived and born here also was a big baby (9.5lbs (4.9kg)). The first doctor I went to in the public system was going off about my weight gain at the end of first trimester.  I was starting my second trimester and I was showing quickly already.  I knew I was doing the same as my first child. I knew that I felt good and my blood work was normal as well.  Therefore, I switched doctors to a private doctor that took into consideration and looked at my levels of weight etc. from my first pregnancy.  As long as I stayed like my first pregnancy and blood work and tests came back normal; then all was OK.  In fact, I delivered a healthy baby without problems.  It was another C-section but that was because my first was born by C-section.  I was not allowed to go natural again after one C-section.

Anyway, did any of you have issues with doctors and weight in pregnancy here?

 

Picking an elementary school in and around Florence

schoolWritten by Sarah McLean (January 2016)

It’s that time of year again, and as a mother with one child in elementary school, one about to enter elementary school, and a younger child, I have had several people ask me for advice as to where to send their children to elementary school. I am by no means an expert, but I here are some thoughts based on my experience and of others that I have spoken to that I hope might be helpful.

What not to expect in an Italian school 

First, you may need to adjust your cultural expectations.

– It’s hard and emotional to decide: Picking a school can be difficult for everyone, but may be especially hard for those of us who went to school in another country and may have different aspirations for our children based on our experience and plans for the future.
– Data: There is public data about how schools in Florence (and elsewhere in Italy) differ with respect to test scores, demographics, and other measures, but it isn’t as prominently displayed as it is in some other countries—all schools, particularly elementary schools, are theoretically equal. Of course, that does not mean that they are the same. The best source I have found is this website (in Italian only) http://cercalatuascuola.istruzione.it/cercalatuascuola/ which does give information on standardised test results, some indications of the school’s social and economic context, and many other interesting facts for both public and many private schools.
– Focus on academic learning: If you want your child to practice a sport, learn an instrument (other than the recorder), or do many other things, expect to do it on your own time (and with your own budget). While students have a weekly hour (or more) of gym, art, music, etc. the focus is “reading, writing, and arithmetic”.
– Infrastructure: given that many buildings are old, and many have been built with another purpose in mind, many schools do not have much in the way of outdoor space, gyms, disability access, etc. They also generally do not have playground equipment in elementary school—I suspect for insurance/risk reasons.
– Different attitudes: To broadly generalize, Italian parents may have different expectations and perceptions of school than the average expat. A few differences include the perception of public versus private schools (private schools are sometimes seen to be where children who cannot succeed in the public system go to school rather than higher quality schools), the importance of children not being stressed, and the need for snacks/a hot lunch. Elementary school teachers tend to focus their attention on whether children learn the required material and are happy, but may not be particularly interested in helping each child realise his or her full potential if they exceed the curricular requirements.

What to expect

– Elementary school is 5 years—children theoretically will have the same teacher and classmates for all of those years.
– School days are Monday to Friday inclusive, with normal hours from approximately 8:30 to 4:30 (40 hours a week). There may be before and after school care options to accommodate working parents (often at a cost). There is also a 28 hour program (tempo corto) offered at some schools.
– There may not be a school bus, and children are not released from school without an authorised person (parent, other relative, babysitter, etc.) picking them up.
– A hot, three course lunch is provided to children, which you are billed for on a sliding scale depending on your family income (ISEE). The food is often good, and (in public schools) a classroom parent is designated cafeteria inspector who eats a couple of times a year at the cafeteria and reports back on the quality of food, ambiance, and cleanliness.
– Children have a snack time (around 10:30) and often bring a snack from home
– Children usually wear a blue school smock (public and some private schools) or a uniform to school—these are available for purchase in many children’s clothing/grocery/cartoleria stores in late August and early September and are almost impossible to find outside of that period.
– You will have to buy notebooks and other school supplies at the beginning of the year—you may have to arrange to order and pick up textbooks at a local bookstore (but they are usually paid for by the city of Florence).
– Children may be required to leave a pair of athletic shoes at school for gym class.
– Children with special needs attend the same school classes and may have a teaching assistant (insegnante di sostegno) assigned to help them in the classroom. Similarly, there are no special classes for children who do not speak Italian, and they often do not have the support of an additional teacher. There are no gifted/talented programs in Florence or I believe elsewhere in Italy.
– Class sizes vary from about 15-27 children per teacher. There is usually only one teacher present at a time in the classroom.
– Children’s work is graded on a scale of 1-10, with many children receiving 10s for their work. The passing grade is 6.
– Children typically receive 2 report cards per year with numeric grades in each subject, a general evaluation of their behaviour, and some comments
– Religion (Roman Catholicism) is a school subject at all schools, but parents can chose not to have their children attend the religion class (avvelarsi dell’ora alternativa) or possibly come late/leave early when the subject is offered.
– Relationships between the teacher/school administration and the parents are mediated by a class representative (a parent elected at the first parent meeting of the year) who attends additional meetings at the school, disseminates information to the parents, is the first line of parent complaint/concern, and often collects money for end of year teacher gifts, organises the email list/Whatsapp group/etc.
– Public school teachers and staff may strike—you will receive notice of the strike in advance, but may not necessarily know if your child’s teacher will be at school or whether your child will have school or not that day until the day itself.

Public or private?

Obviously the clear difference between the two types of school is that you are paying for private school. In addition to cost, here are a few things to consider:

– School hours and flexibility—public schools are often inflexible about their hours (your child must be dropped off/picked up at a specific time) and they may strike (I counted 14 strikes of at least some school personnel in my son’s school last school year—he was directly affected by only a few of those, and there have been fewer strikes so far this school year, but school strikes can be a real problem for those who work and do not have backup child care).
– Convenience: where is the school located? Is there a school bus? Some private schools also offer extracurricular activities at the school so you don’t have to take your child to after school lessons.
– Peer group: where are your child’s current classmates going? Are the children at the private school you are considering likely to remain in Italy as long as your child is?
– Your child’s needs: would your child benefit from something only a private school would offer? This might (but not necessarily mean) smaller classes, or specialised instruction.
– Could your child easily transfer into public school (or another private school) if necessary? This might be difficult if your child is attending an international or alternative school.
– How likely is the staff to remain consistent (for better or worse) when your child is there? In some private schools, teachers are not given indefinite contracts, or are working at a private school while also waiting to be called for permanent jobs in the public education system. Some public schools have a higher fraction of teachers “di ruolo” (in a permanent position, and therefore likely to stay there) than others. Of course, your child’s teacher can unexpectedly go on leave in any of these situations, but this is less likely if they are in a permanent job.
– Who will be your child’s main teacher(s)? You may not know this in advance, but it is one of the most important factors in your child’s school experience.
– How is the school doing financially? Some private schools have suffered with the crisis—enrolments are down, and there may be a question as to whether they will remain open/offer what they say they will offer to your child.
– Is there a wait list? Some private schools have long wait lists, but differ in whether they require a registration fee to join the list. It may make sense to sign up for a school early if you are considering it or risk not finding space.

English education

English is a mandatory school subject from first grade onward. Many Italian children take after school English lessons, and an increasing number of private schools offer English programs. Of course, these lessons vary a great deal in quality, and are designed for Italian children to learn English as an additional language. Here are some things to think about:

– Who will be teaching English? Most of the teachers officially certified to teach English in the Italian primary school system have only a basic grasp of the language. Some are fantastic teachers and are willing to learn from your child, others feel threatened by the presence of native speaking children in his/her class. Some native English speaking teachers are excellent, others may not have a teaching background, experience, or be a poor fit for your child.
– Who else will be leading the English class? Even in the public system, it is common to find English mother tongue volunteers (often American university students) who will come to at least some English classes. You might also be able to help.
– What is the language background of the other students? Even if the teacher learned English as a mother tongue, if most of the class has had limited exposure to English, the class level won’t be well suited to a native English speaker.
– Will your child be expected to do the class English activities? Likely yes, although the teacher may allow your child to do extra/alternative work in class (or recruit your child to be an assistant teacher).
– Is there separate English instruction available for bilingual/English speaking children? This is unlikely to be the case in public and many private schools.

Long or short time?

Several public schools offer a shorter school program where children attend two full days of school, and three half-days (often with the option of remaining at school for lunch during those half days and exiting after 2 pm). This can be an attractive option for those who do not need the additional hours of child care. Some of the consequences of the shorter time program include:

– More homework—children in full-time elementary school often only have homework on weekends; short time children will likely have homework on their short days of school. This may be good training for middle school homework expectations, but will likely require some additional time from parents/grandparents/others to supervise/enforce.
– More time for other things: despite the additional homework, children in short time do have more time to play outside of school and participate in extracurricular activities.
– Faster pace at school—Since the same material is covered in 12 fewer hours, the teacher has less time to review and answer questions in class.
– Usually one primary teacher, not two—Most subjects are taught by one teacher, with additional teachers covering some hours (typically English, art, science, etc.). This means that only one teacher spends a significant amount of time with your child, and the subjects that teacher does not teach may be less integrated into the program (and you may not have as clear a sense as to what your child does during that time).

Which school is right for your family?

– Schools hold “open days” (open house sessions usually in the evenings) often in January where you can tour the school and meet the administrators and some teachers. This may be the only chance you have to see the school facilities
– Many schools (including public schools) have websites where a variety of information is available—including textbooks, class lists, general information about the school.
– Some questions to ask (at the open day or elsewhere):
– Who would my child’s teachers be? Can we meet them before enrolling? Are they “di ruolo”?
– Class composition: how many children, from which areas of the city, speaking which languages at home (for those interested in bilingual education), coming from which schools?
– Where will my child’s classroom be? Where will gym/lunch/recess/other activities take place?

How to register

– Public school registration is available online from January 22 to February 22 at istruzione.it There is no advantage in registering relatively early—spaces are allocated on the basis of a points system (residency, work locations, siblings, etc. are some of the factors) after registration closes. You can select up to 2 schools.
– Private school registrations vary by school.

Good luck!

Straight Facts About Braces

Why is orthodontics important?

Without treatment, orthodontic problem may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and trouble with chewing and digestion. A “bad bite” can be a factor in tooth loss and chipped teeth. Orthodontics can have psychological benefits too – boosting a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned.

When should a child first see an orthodontist?

Although there is not a universal best age to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that every child see an orthodontist at an early age. This could be as young as 3 or 4, but should be no later than 7.

Early examination enables the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems and determine the appropriate time to treat them. After the initial evaluation, the orthodontist may simply recommend periodic checkups. The proper age to treat malocclusion varies with the type and severity of the problem.

Is it ever too late for a person to get braces?
Healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age. An orthodontist can improve the smile of practically anyone – in fact, orthodontists regularly treat patients in their 50s, 60s and older!

What can happen if orthodontic problems go untreated?
Untreated orthodontic problems may contribute to tooth decay, diseased gums, temporomandibular joint problems and loss of teeth. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping and other forms of dental injury. Sometimes, the increased cost of dental care resulting from untreated malocclusion (bad bite) far exceeds the cost of orthodontic care. In addition, if left untreated, malocclusion may result in harmful effects on the oral health and psychological well-being of the patient.

What makes an orthodontist different from a dentist?
Orthodontists are the dental specialists in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities: they are expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with the patient to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions. They are uniquely qualified to correct “bad bites”. The American Dental Association requires orthodontists to have at least two years of post-doctoral, advanced specialty training in orthodontics in an accredited program, after graduation from dental school.

Read her other post: The Right Time For An Orthodontic Check-Up

October is the Month of Dental Prevention. The American Association of Orthodontists has chosen October as Orthodontic Health Month. It provides the opportunity to educate the public about the benefits of orthodontics, the importance of early orthodontic screening no later than age seven, the lifetime value of orthodontics and orthodontists’ special educational qualifications.

Written by Dr. Daniela Signorelli

*** The material is provided by the American Association of Orthodontists. If anyone is interested in having more information, there is  AAO’s  website : http://www.braces.org

 

The Right Time For An Orthodontic Check-Up

The Right Time For An Orthodontic Check-Up: No Later Than Age 7

dentist
Even though most people think of pre-teens and teens when they speak about orthodontics, there are good reasons your child should get an orthodontic evaluation much sooner. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7.

Why Your Child Should Get An Orthodontic Check-Up No Later Than Age 7:
1. Orthodontists can spot problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.
2. The check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine. Often, the orthodontist will identify a potential problem but recommend monitoring the child’s growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the right time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.
3. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
4. In some cases, the orthodontist will be able to achieve results that wouldn’t be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.
5. Some of the more readily apparent conditions that indicate the need for early examination include:

• Early or late loss of teeth
• Difficulty in chewing or biting
• Mouth breathing
• Thumb sucking
• 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

6. Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:

• Guide jaw growth
• Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
• Correct harmful oral habits (thumb sucking)
• Improve appearance
• Guide permanent teeth into a more favourable position
• Improve the way lips meet

7. Through early orthodontic screening, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile that’s good for life. No child should wait until reaching the teens to feel good about his or her smile.

October is the Month of Dental Prevention. The American Association of Orthodontists has chosen October as Orthodontic Health Month. It provides the opportunity to educate the public about the benefits of orthodontics, the importance of early orthodontic screening no later than age seven, the lifetime value of orthodontics and orthodontists’ special educational qualifications.

Written by Dr. Daniela Signorelli

*** The material is provided by the American Association of Orthodontists. If anyone is interested in having more information, there is  AAO’s  website : http://www.braces.org