Along with the American Association of Orthodontists, we recommend that a child receive their first orthodontic screening by the age 7. By starting treatment early, we are able to recognize potential problems early and correct them before they become more serious. This not only saves you and your child time, but also money. Early treatment also known as Phase-One, typically begins around age 7 or 8 and 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 under bite.
Early treatment also helps to make room for permanent teeth to come in properly, lessening the chance of extractions in the future.
How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all their permanent teeth around age 13)
- Difficulty chewing and/or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Your child continues sucking their thumb after age five
- Speech impediments
- Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
- Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
- Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth (crossbites)
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation can provide both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems in appropriate cases. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
Reducing the need for tooth removal
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:
- Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
- Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
- Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
- Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you.