An orthodontic exam can be beneficial at any age, but like most things in life, the earlier you start the process, the better. Early treatment in orthodontics basically refers to the “optimal time” for an initial orthodontics evaluation. According to the American Society of Orthodontics, this optimal time is no later than age 7, when the first adult molars begin to erupt. Although orthodontic treatment may not be necessary at this age, early vigilance can help anticipate future problems.
What Are the Benefits of Early Orthodontics Treatment?
Not only can early evaluation provide timely detection of problems, but it can also enhance the chances of better, more effective treatment. We can use the information to guide the growth and development of our patients’ teeth. With early orthodontics treatment, we can do the following:
- Create room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Create facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reduce the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserve space for teeth that have yet to erupt
- Reduce the need to remove teeth
- Reduce treatment time with braces
The majority of patients undergoing orthodontic care are children and teens. When kids are young, their jaws are constantly growing to accommodate new teeth. It is during this time that the teeth are easily moved, allowing for a shorter treatment time – especially in patients who undergo early treatment. Braces, retainers, and spacers are just some of the orthodontic appliances commonly used in children’s orthodontics. Although not all kids need orthodontic treatment, all kids need exams at an early age. Some signs that a child may eventually require orthodontic treatment include:
- Jaw is disproportionate to the face
- Has a habit of frequent thumb-sucking
- Chronically breathes from the mouth rather than the nose
- Primary teeth fall out too soon or too late
- Exhibits malocclusion (overbite/underbite)
- Visible crowding
Early screenings make it possible to get early treatment. Please contact our office today to set up a consultation. We will be more than happy to discuss your child’s orthodontics options.