Orthodontic care is no longer just for teenages, we offer orthodontic options for your child.
Early orthodontic treatment can put your child on the right path for a healthy smile.
What is the difference between early orthodontic treatment, and regular orthodontic treatment? How might my child benefit from early treatment?
These are just a few of the questions parents often ask when we discuss early orthodontic treatment for children. Children should visit an orthodontist for the first time around the age of seven, as advised by the American Academy of Orthodontists. This is an ideal time because children will be losing baby teeth and gaining permanent teeth, so the orthodontist can begin to see how the smile is growing and taking shape.
While not all children will require early orthodontic treatment, for those who do, the first phase of treatment typically starts around the age of eight or nine. Early treatment works to guide the growth of the jaw and correct bite discrepancies. This allows for the permanent teeth to erupt properly. Once the jaw is corrected and all of the permanent teeth are in, the second phase can begin. Phase two involves perfecting the bite and straightening the smile.
You may be able to identify if your child could benefit from early treatment. Signs to look for include:
- Early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
- Problems chewing or biting
- Breathing through the mouth
- Extended thumb-sucking or pacifier use
- Speech issues
- Protruding teeth
- Teeth that don’t fit together properly or don’t fit together at all
- Shifting jaw when the mouth is opened or closed
- Excessive crowding
What causes orthodontic issues?
There can be several reasons why your child may have a malocclusion. Often, bad bites are simply blamed on genetics. Bad bites can be an inherited trait, so if the parents had a bad bite, chances are the child may, too. Other times, a bad bite can be caused by habits, such as thumbsucking or tongue thrusting, or by an injury to the mouth.
How can early treatment help my child?
While orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, it is most efficient and effective while the jaw is still growing. Some patients who receive treatment later in life face the possibility of jaw surgery or extractions. Early treatment can prevent the need for more serious interventions later.
Most children will lose their baby teeth by 13 and by the end of their teen years, the jaw has stopped growing. If treatment is held off until this time, it will most likely be more invasive. Adult orthodontics can include the need for extractions and jaw surgery. But early orthodontic treatment can guide the growth of the jaw to ensure an ideal environment for the permanent teeth to erupt.
If your child is around the age of seven or if your dentist has recommended an orthodontic consultation, call our office today. After an initial exam, our team will determine if any further steps need to be taken to ensure a healthy, beautiful smile for your child.