These are just a few of the questions surrounding the topic of early orthodontic treatment for children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist as early as age seven. At this point the orthodontist will evaluate whether your child will need orthodontic treatment.
Early treatment (also known as Phase-One) typically begins around age eight or nine. Phase-Two will begin around age 11 or older. The goal of early treatment is to correct the growth of the jaw and certain bite problems, such as underbite. Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.
Orthodontic problems such as crowding of the teeth, too much space between the teeth, jaw growth problems, protruding teeth, and bad bites can be inherited or caused by injury to the mouth, early or late loss of baby teeth, or thumb-sucking habits.
Most children lose all their baby teeth by age 13. By the end of their teen years, the jaw bones will harden and stop growing. Orthodontic procedures for adults often take more time and can involve tooth extraction or oral surgery. Receiving early orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent the need for orthodontics as an adult, leaving little to no chance of extraction or surgery in the future.
If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care, or you have been directed by your family dentist to visit the orthodontist, please contact our practice and schedule an appointment. Our team will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child’s smile.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an initial orthodontic screening by the age of 7. By this age, all the permanent incisors (front teeth) as well as the permanent first molars should have erupted. If inadequate space exists, some of these teeth could become impacted. An evaluation at this time helps identify problems with eruptions.
Also at this time, we can evaluate growth discrepancies of the jaws, crossbites (when upper teeth hit inside the lower teeth), crowding, and the development of injury-prone dental protrusions. An early orthodontic screening enables us to advise you if treatment will even be necessary, and if so, determine the best time for your child to be treated. There is no charge for an initial examination or for supervision reassessment examinations.
Some signs or habits that may indicate the need for an early orthodontic examination include early or late loss of baby teeth, difficulty in chewing or biting, mouth breathing, thumb or finger sucking, crowding, displaced or blocked-out teeth, biting the cheek or roof of the mouth, teeth that meet abnormally or not at all, jaws or teeth that are out of proportion to one another, and a smile that is not symmetrical.
For young patients who have clear indications for early orthodontic intervention, this type of treatment presents an opportunity to:
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