Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment that may be suitable for your young child. Beginning treatment at an early age ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation occurs at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7.
Most of the time, a child at this age can still have baby teeth present. While orthodontic treatment may not be necessary at this early age, vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
Benefits of early orthodontic evaluation
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development as the child grows, helping to prevent serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, our orthodontists can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding, or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances of an incredible smile.
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
- Reducing treatment time with braces
Is your child a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the smile’s aesthetics; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions) that can cause several problems later in life if left untreated. 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 brush and floss properly, contributing 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.
- Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.