One of the most frequently asked questions is at what age children should begin seeking an evaluation. We believe that orthodontic treatment should begin by or before the age of seven, which is in line with the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontics. At this age, a child’s first adult molars are in, and we are able to compare both front-to-back tooth relationships and side-to-side relationships. This allows us to detect problems including crossbites and overcrowding of teeth.
Another important reason for early screening in youth is preventive care. Intervention may be needed to stop harmful habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. Resolving these habits early is important for normal tooth eruption.
Some specific benefits of early and interceptive treatment include:
- Correction of overbites, underbites and/or crossbites
- Creating space for permanent teeth to grow without the risk of overcrowding
- Reducing or eliminating the need to pull teeth
- Making space for crowded, erupted teeth
- To assist in stopping thumb sucking and tongue thrusts; both of these habits can have negative effects on your child’s speech performance, ability to swallow and tooth eruption
- Influencing jaw growth for optimal facial symmetry
Following interceptive care, additional orthodontic treatment may still be necessary (commonly referred to as the “Second Phase”) in adolescence. Early treatment previously received may help to reduce the amount of time your child will be in braces in the second phase. Often, early intervention is not needed, and we will continue to monitor and observe your child every 6 months throughout the stages of dental development until all permanent teeth have erupted to begin orthodontic treatment.
To learn more about early treatment or to see if your child is a candidate, please contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.