Early Orthodontic Treatment for Children

What is the difference between early treatment and conventional treatment? Why might my child need early treatment? How will it benefit my child in the long run? "As the twig is bent So grows the tree." Early treatment is pro-active it lets you get ahead of the developing problems; the jaws grow better and teeth come in straighter than they otherwise would. Phase II is simpler, the results are better, and there is less need to extract teeth. Some children have Invisalign Teen and never have to have full brces. Out goal is to have a child complete both phases of treatment before high school.

These are just a few of the considerations surrounding early orthodontic treatment for children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by age seven. Enough permanent teeth will be present for an orthodontist to evaluate whether your child will benefit from orthodontic treatment and at what age.

Early treatment, or Phase One, typically starts around age eight or nine. Phase Two begins when all the permanent teeth have erupted about age 11 or 12. The goal of early treatment is to influence the growth of the jaws, create more space, and correct bite problems, make chewing more comfortable, and move protruding teeth back out of harm's way.

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 permanent teeth around age 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues to suck his or her 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 or function in a normal manner or meeet at all
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes his or her mouth (crossbites)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

What causes orthodontic problems, and how will early treatment benefit my child?

Orthodontic problems, or malocclusions, are inherited. This includes crowded teeth, too much spaceing, unequal jaw growth, protruding teeth, and bad bites. Habits such as mouthbreathing or thumb sucking can also cause problems or make existing problems worse. This is also true of premature loss of baby teeth and mouth injuries. 

The most effective orthoontic treatment occurs while a child is still growing. Most children have lost all their baby teeth by age 13. By the age 16-18, the jaws stop growing. In adult orthodontics we are trying to catch up to a fully developed malocclusion. There are fewer treatment options, it usully takes longer, and the results may be compromised. Tooth extraction or jaw surgery might be necessary to obtain the best results. Receiving orthodontic treatment as a child can help prevent or reduce the need the need for orthodontics as an adult. It can significantly reduce the severity of the bad bite and the long term consequences of excess wear-and-tear on the teeth, jaws, chewing muscles, and jaw joints.

If your child is between the ages of seven and eight and shows signs of needing orthodontic care you do not need a referral to have a screening examination. If your family dentist has suggested that your child might benefit from orthodontic treatment, please call a appointment.. Our team will provide your son or daughter with a complimentary initial exam, answer sall your questions, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your youngster’s smile.

outside of office directions