Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
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By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships.
For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
There aren’t many cons to early orthodontic treatment, but parents do have to understand that early orthodontic treatment is a commitment. Children must commit to maintaining proper oral hygiene, and parents must commit to ensuring that their children are brushing and flossing their teeth regularly.
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile. Orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.
Early orthodontic treatment is best separated into two phases, designed to work alongside the natural development of the teeth and jaw bones.
Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is typically completed between the ages of 7 and 10 and is aimed to prepare the mouth for permanent teeth to emerge in a healthy alignment with a sufficient amount of space.
During this phase, your child may be treated with a palatal expander appliance to widen the upper jaw and create enough room for permanent teeth to grow.
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile—it creates a healthier you.
Whether your child gets braces at age 8, 9 or 10, we’ll create a personalized treatment plan and explain everything you and your child need to know for a successful treatment experience.