Early Treatment for Children
It’s best for the orthodontist to see children by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required and it is the best time for that patient to be treated. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
How early is too early?
Most kids have their permanent molars in and have established their bite by the age of seven. This makes it a perfect age to start interceptive orthodontic treatment if needed. This is also why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child sees an orthodontist by the age of seven. We understand that kids are being seen by their general dentists before this age, but an orthodontic specialist should be one of your child’s health specialists. Interceptive treatments are those that can improve the effectiveness of your total orthodontic treatment when done an early age. Often, early treatment can solve future problems by:
• Creating room for adult teeth that are coming in
• Identifying and planning for missing adult teeth
• Influencing jaw growth for better facial balance and jaw harmony
• Reducing the need for extractions
Still not sure your child is ready? Just bring’em in. The consultation is complementary!