It’s never too late to start orthodontic treatment. But if you want to straighten the teeth of your children, is it ever too early? Studies have shown that starting orthodontic treatments for children earlier is better than waiting. We recommend that kids should have their first orthodontic screening at the age of 7.
Why is Early Intervention needed?
Children will benefit from early orthodontic evaluations and treatments for multiple reasons. But we should point out first that early evaluation doesn’t always result in early treatment. If a child needs orthodontic treatment, we will monitor his growth patterns until we need to start treatment. This allows us to obtain the best results in a highly effective way so we can prevent future problems.
Every child’s mouth develops differently, but in general most kids get their first permanent teeth around the age of 6. Once a child’s permanent teeth start erupting, we can evaluate the alignment of his teeth, from side to side and from front to back. We can also attempt to discern whether the child has enough space in his mouth for all of his permanent teeth to come in. If he doesn’t have adequate space, we’ll need to intervene.
We usually start treating orthodontic problems between the ages of 9 and 14. At that point, a child has lost all of his baby teeth and most of his permanent teeth will have erupted. However, some conditions are much easier to treat if we catch them at an early age. A young child’s natural growth processes operate very quickly at that age.
To avoid the possibility of surgery, we seek to intervene early. Early orthodontic treatment fixes many common orthodontic problems very effectively and eliminates the need for more invasive procedures later on.
When a child has a severe crossbite, several of his upper teeth will close around the lower ones or vice versa. To correct this, we use a palatal expander to slowly and gently open up one of the jaws. It works well when the jaw is not fully developed. If we wait too long to correct this problem, we may need to use a more complicated procedure, even surgery.
Severe crowding takes place when your child’s jaws aren’t big enough to fit all of his permanent teeth. We can extract teeth or use palatal expansion to help the child’s adult teeth come in correctly. If the child needs braces later on, the treatment won’t take as long.
If a child’s teeth protrude out in front, they are more vulnerable to fractures and chipping. Protruding teeth also can cause the child to have a negative self-image.
An underbite occurs when the lower jaw grows larger than the upper jaw, causing issues with the bite. We aim to use devices like braces to correct like this at an early stage. If we wait to treat the problem later, we may have to resort to surgery.