While many children start their orthodontic treatment between the ages of 12 and 14, some others can benefit from much earlier treatment. In case it’s needed, your orthodontist can advise you the best time a treatment can be started.
Early orthodontic treatment, which is conducted during the primary (baby) dentition or mixed dentition, is described as Interceptive Orthodontics or Phase l.
It can help your orthodontist to:
• Improve jaw growth
• reduce the risk of trauma to excessively protruded front teeth
• Correct harmful oral habits
• Improve oral functions
• Guide the eruption of permanent teeth
• Improve appearance and self-esteem
Parents can be the first to know
At an early age, it may not be easy to identify when your child has an orthodontic problem. Even teeth looking straight can be hiding an unbalanced bite.
Below are some signs that may point out the need for orthodontic intervention:
• Early or late loss of primary teeth
• Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
• Excessively spaced and protruding teeth
• Mouth breathing
• Tongue thrust
• Jaws that are too far forward or back
• Biting the cheek or biting into the palate
• Upper and lower teeth that don’t meet, or meet in an abnormal way
• Lips not closing in rest position
• Unbalanced profile and facial appearance
• Difficulty in chewing or biting
• Grinding or clenching of the teeth
OFFER YOUR CHILD THE LIFETIME GIFT OF A HEALTHY SMILE
Early management of orthodontic problems can help children to speak, chew and bite better and it will make them also feel more confident. Poorly aligned teeth and unbalanced bite can lead to dental and, even, psychological problems.
Not everyone needs orthodontic treatment. But if your child does need help, a checkup no later than age 7 will help your orthodontist provide the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that a child get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of the existence of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. By then, the child has enough permanent teeth to determine whether an orthodontic problem exists or is developing.
Waiting until the replacement of all baby teeth could be, sometimes, wrong and lead to more complications. Some orthodontic problems may be easier to solve when detected early. A check-up no later than age 7 gives your orthodontist the opportunity to recommend the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. If early treatment is in order, the orthodontist may be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.